Our Machiavellian Government

Topics: United States, President of the United States, United States Constitution Pages: 3 (934 words) Published: November 6, 2008
Our Machiavellian Government

In his essay “The Prince”, Machiavelli writes of certain qualities a leader must have in order to optimally govern his country. America’s own government seems to adhere to the same sort of ideas that Machiavelli writes about in this essay. His ideas have been shown to be timeless, and many actions of the United States government provide a good example of Machiavellian ideas in practice in the modern world.

One of the central ideas that Machiavelli promotes is that the end justifies the means. This means that the prince, or in this case the government of the United States, should do whatever it takes to facilitate the desired results. While Machiavelli would see immorality as a healthy part of government, the government of the United States would evidently disagree, as shown by the condemnation of Richard Nixon’s actions and his resignation from the presidency caused by the Watergate scandal in 1972. Machiavellian thinking would help explain why Nixon considered illegal wiretapping and other unlawful activities to be acceptable in order to help him obtain his goal of re-election.

Machiavelli’s fondness for dishonesty is also evident in his belief that a prince should say he will do one thing in order to make his people happy, and then do something entirely different. He says virtue is not practical in reality, and claims that “a man who wishes to act entirely up to his professions of virtue soon meets with what destroys him among so much that is evil.” Deception is a widely used practice in American politics-an especially good example of this would be George H.W. Bush’s claims that he would not raise taxes after being elected into office. He proceeded to hike taxes in order to prevent a recession, thereby proving Machiavelli’s idea that dishonesty is a practical way for attaining goals in office.

In addition, Machiavelli seems to place a lot of importance on the art of waging war and knowledge of weaponry. He writes...
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