Machiavelli: Violence as a Powerful Tool

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Securing power and order of a state has been the focus of ancient political philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli’s writings. His most famous writing “The Prince” fortified his untraditional views on how to successfully rule a state. He recognizes through his realist views, that human nature causes a need for any degree of violence required to maintain power, and order in a state. This paper will expose how Machiavelli viewed violence as a necessary, yet moderated tool in order to rule a successful state. The paper will prove this by examining Machiavelli’s approaches to acquiring, maintaining, and defending a state, in his book “The Prince.” In order to initially secure power over a state Machiavelli makes it clear that violence is a necessity. Firstly, he condones violence in eliminating the previous rulers, along with their families. Machiavelli uses this as a situation in which violence is key in order to secure a state under your name. On the other hand, he shows compassion through the moderation of this violence when he states that:

“Well-used cruelty (if one can speak well of evil) one may call those atrocities that are committed at a stroke, in order to secure one’s power, and are then not repeated, rather every effort is made to ensure one’s subjects benefit in the long run (Machiavelli, 2001: 437).”

This quote makes it evident that he thought of violence as a powerful and necessary tool in order to attain what you want, yet Machiavelli makes it known that he is a compassionate man, and that he is keeping in mind the welfare of the citizen’s in the state. In dealing with political affairs within a state that one is ruling, Machiavelli is not long to suggest that cruelty (violence) should be imposed, although he does suggest this out of compassion for the better good of the state and all it’s citizen’s, when he states:

“A ruler ought not to mind the disgrace of being called cruel, if he keeps his subjects peaceful and law-abiding, for it is most...
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