AP English Language
December 2, 2008
Machiavelli. Or not?
Niccolo Machiavelli’s ideal princely duties include “all mercy, all loyal, all sincerity, all humanity, all religion” (Rebhorn). Italian born, he carries a passionate enthusiasm for the Florentine republic. The Da Vinci of politics, Machiavelli manipulates deceit and duplicity to pursue political goals. Machiavelli presents his political ideals of princely responsibility via his legacy “The Prince”. Claimed as a paramount political activist and a brilliant strategy thinker, Machiavelli’s philosophy soared centuries ahead of his time.
Machiavellian philosophy mainly benefits the people. Cruelty must exist, but in moderation. A prince must practice mercy, but enforce cruelty: “through cruelty…[a prince can] keep his subjects united and loyal” (Machiavelli 72). Too much cruelty and mercy will, “allow disorder to continue” (Machiavelli 71). A true prince oozes intelligence and geographic knowledge; knowing his mountains, valleys, plains, rivers, and swamps thus prepares him for battle: “one gets to know one’s country and can understand better how to defend it” (Machiavelli 64). A prince must not come to power through wickedness or other’s doings, but through his own skills. A prince’s chief concerns includes the people’s loyalty and adoration. Finally, a prince must balance virtue and fortune, for “they will prosper as the two are in accord with one another” (Machiavelli 107).
Over the past 8 years, the United States under President George W. Bush faced numerous trials; including the death penalty, 9-11, Hurricane Katrina, and gas price inflations. These trials defied Machiavellian principles. Although competent, President Bush represents in no way the Machiavellian ideals to govern a country. President Bush extensively advocated the death penalty – since it’s reintroduction in 1976, he supported all 1,000 executions. (Bush). The death penalty serves as cruelty, which...