Machiavelli Ecclesiastical Principalities

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The Prince is Machiavelli’s guide for ruling and conquering states. Machiavelli elaborates on various ways to acquire principalities and provides the reader with a straightforward guide on how to successfully conquer and maintain control over states. Machiavelli analyses the strengths and flaws of certain paths to conquest, how to maintain a hold on power and the importance of strong arms. Machiavelli sees humans as easily persuaded and simple minded. He believes that all people want to be controlled and guided and those who control do so because their intellect is much greater than the average person. In chapter eleven, Ecclesiastical Principalities, Machiavelli elaborates on the strength and weaknesses of this unique type of principality. Ecclesiastical Principalities are acquired through virtue or fortune. These principalities are sustained by historical practices and rules that have developed alongside religion. In this unique case, although the Prince does control the state, it is strongly dominated by the church. According to Machiavelli, Ecclesiastical Principalities are said to “alone have states, and do not defend them; they have subjects, and do not govern them, and the states, though ungoverned, do not care, and they neither think of becoming estranged from such princes, nor can they." This essay will analyze what Machiavelli considers strengths and weaknesses of Ecclesiastical principalities and how this principality differs from others. Before Alexander VI, the church was held in low esteem when it came to temporal affairs. Despite this, all other powers in Italy feared the Pope and the Venetians. All powers in Italy attributed the quarrelling between the Orsini and the Colonna to be reason why the church remained weak and powerless. Consequently, this damages Ecclesiastical Principalities from emerging. The latter example proves arms to be a weakness of Ecclesiastical Principalities. Although Machiavelli does...
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