Machiavelli: Hero or Villain?

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Hero or Villain?

Writing one of the most acclaimed books of all time must not have been easy; not one bit. Stating that, the fact that Frederick Douglas, among many others, is capable of criticizing Machiavelli and his genius work on The Prince, really infuriates me. Unconsciously, Niccolo Machiavelli became one of the first and most important philosophical leaders of all time after writing The Prince. Although The Prince is considered one of the greatest pieces of political theory in history, it is not always looked upon favorably, and a clear example of this comes from Frederick the Great. In 1739, Frederick the Great wrote a severe critique of The Prince entitled Refutation of The Prince of Machiavelli in which he expressed that he thought “Machiavelli corrupted politics, and in doing so hoped to destroy the very percepts of sound morality”. This is an idea with which I don’t particularly side with. In his critique of The Prince, Frederick the Great talks about how this book is one of the most dangerous pieces of literature that has ever been released to the world. He describes how if this book were to fall into the hands of young, naive princes whose judgment hasn’t fully developed, their perspectives would be corrupted. Honestly, Frederick has this all wrong. The Prince is meant to be looked at as a type of “handbook” or “guide” which Machiavelli created in order for the current prince to have a successful career as commander in chief. He is hoping to help and facilitate the journey the person who is the acting prince, which in that case was de Medici. It is clear that Frederick the Great thought that Machiavelli’s intentions in writing the story were to corrupt the mind of young princes, but the wise words on the guide had only one unique function; to ease the roll of the being a prince. This is why Frederick is certainly “wide of the mark” concerning his opinions. In the midst of Frederick’s severe evaluation of The Prince, he mentions...
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