Machiavelli strongly promoted a secular society and felt morality was not necessary but in fact stood in the way of an effectively governed state. In some cases Machiavelli's suggestions seem harsh and immoral but one must remember that these views were result of concern for Italy's unstable political condition.
Though humanists of Machiavelli's time believed that an individual had much to offer to the well being of the state, Machiavelli was quick to mock human nature. Machiavelli generally distrusted citizens, stating that "...in time of adversity, when the state is in need of its citizens there are few to be found." Machiavelli goes on to question the loyalty of the citizens and advises the Prince that "...because men a wretched creatures who would not keep their word to you, you need keep your word to them."
Machiavelli did not feel that a Prince should mistreat the citizens. If a prince cannot be both feared and loved, Machiavelli suggests, it would be better for him to be feared by the citizens within his own state. He describes men as being self centered and not willing to act in the best interest of the state.
In order to win honor, Machiavelli suggests that a prince must be readily willing to deceive the citizens. By encouraging citizens to do extremely well at their professions he would also be increasing the prosperity of their state. These measures, though carried out in deception, would bring the prince honor and trust amongst the citizens, especially those who were in the best positions to oppose him. Machiavelli suggests that a prince must also deceive those who attempt to flatter him.... [continues]
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