Political Philosophy and Machiavelli

Topics: Florence, Political philosophy, Cesare Borgia Pages: 3 (1089 words) Published: December 5, 2013
Nicolo Machiavelli is a well known philosopher of the Italian Renaissance from the sixteenth century. The return of the Medici family in Florence in 1512 forced Machiavelli out of office, and he wrote The Prince after retiring from the public. The Prince is one of his most famous works, it describes the means by which a new leader may gain and maintain power. His ideas can be applied to new rulers ranging from a new principal to a new president of a new country. While discussing his ideas for new rulers, Machiavelli says "Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved?" (Machiavelli 98). If a ruler is not able to do both, it is better to be loved than feared. Machiavelli answers his own question through his ideas of what makes a successful ruler. He argues that a prince is much safer being feared than loved. Machiavelli says “...for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails." (Machiavelli 99). He says that being loved creates opportunity for being taken advantage of and being feared doesn't fail. Bringing fear to his people with cruelty would make them united and loyal. Most people who are fearful of any authority fear punishment, so they are more inclined to not cross the line of disrespect. Without a doubt, being loved is more desired from the people and has a greater value compared to being feared, even though the perks of being feared can make a leader successful. Since it's better to be loved than feared, there are three important characteristics to have to ensure that the new people you're ruling love you; these characteristics are being honest, having respect, and being protective. Honesty is an important characteristic to have because the body of people you're ruling and the way they act is a reflection of yourself. If you make honest...
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