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Chris Kelly 8/10/2012 AP European History The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli The Prince, written by the revered Nicolo

Machiavelli, is a prime specimen of Italian Renaissance literature. This piece served as a political guide for many leaders and soon became a great influence to many. Solely the fact that this book has lasted throughout the centuries serves as a testament to its greatness and significance. Machiavelli writes this work as an outline for how people should be ruled. Though there are different aspects associated with the Italian Renaissance, the most well-known aspects are the arts and the artists. Around the time of publication, some of the masterpieces created were Michelangelos Sistine Chapel, Raphaels Sistine Madonna, and Leonardo Da Vincis Last Supper. In addition to the arts, an ideology of humanism, a philosophical notion that stresses the autonomy of human reason over the power of the Church, was emphasized to rid of the corrupt and binding control; one great humanist was Francesco Petrarch. As Machiavelli wrote, he broke the book down into four major sections. In his first section, Machiavelli discusses principalities: the two of which are hereditary and new. Machiavelli carefully explains the grave difference between the two, and claims that the hereditary principalities are much more preferable and easy to maintain as well. In the third chapter, Machiavelli goes on to explain why it is immensely more difficult to govern a new principality. New principalities can be one of two things: completely new or an

adjunct of a pre-existing state. By sheer virtue of the ruling family, the prince can easily seize a principality with his own, loyal army. In the beginning of the chapter, Nicolo states that maintaining this type of principality is much more difficult first off because the citizens of the state are more willing to quid pro quo their ruler in high hopes of prosperity and constructive reform. In addition, once the prince takes complete control, he will face the problem of retention: he cannot assure the citizens guaranteed improvement, thus in this time frame, the princes position is most vulnerable. Very bluntly, Machiavelli states in the third chapter that once the territory is conquered, the prince must do two things: extinguish the ruling family and alter neither the laws nor the taxes. However, capturing the principality is not the only act; the prince must be able to control the new principality with complete stability. To achieve stability, the prince must endure the hardships of a very simple term, difficulties. Not everyone is the same in one territory, resulting in many cultures and customs. To resolve this conflict, the prince must establish a standard and uniform language and customs. Once establish, the prince should settle in the principality and address most if not all problems with quickness and efficacy. If the prince does these things that Machiavelli brilliantly states, the prince shall maintain control of his territory and protect it from being vulnerable to foreign threats. The second part of Machiavellis The Prince deals with tactical infrastructure, more specifically, the militarys role. Machiavelli strongly heeds that one quintessential aspect of a strong state is a good army. In one paragraph, Machiavelli vehemently opposes the usage of allied forces armies because if they achieve success in the end result, the prince will be forced to bow down to the allies. In addition, a little after stating this, Machiavelli believes that hiring troops for war will do nothing but damage the state because the hired troops have no internal

motivation; the only motivation they have is money. However, before the army comes into the big picture, Nicolo Machiavelli emphasizes one important fact: the prince needs to study war because it is an art and the prince should understand war strategies and the territory where the war is going to happen. The third part of The Prince consists of a section of nine chapters discussing the criteria on how to be an efficient and effective ruler. One key point that Machiavelli emphasizes is that begin generous and keeping a credo of esteemed values results in a horrendous government. To pursue the Machiavellian state, the prince must not be loved, but rather feared by the people because the prince maintains control and security. In order to substantiate his claim, Machiavelli cleverly states, Thus it is well to seem merciful, faithful, humane, sincere, religious, and also to be so: but you must have the mind so disposed that when it is needful to be otherwise you may be able to change to the opposite qualities. The fourth part of The Prince is the final three chapters that outline Machiavellis perspective on Italys dissension. Nicolo Machiavelli recants his views and attitude about the failure of former Italian rulers and ends The Prince with an appeal to future leaders of Italy. Machiavelli believes that the only person who can restore Italys prior honor and dignity and stature is Lorenzo de Medici. Another cause of interest in this book is that it still has relevance today, although many centuries later. It is unlikely that even Machiavelli thought his book would have such a longlasting effect and influence on history and mankind. This book is still relevant because it discusses how a leader should rule. It also talks about how people react to that leaders ruling. Even though the world around us has changed in myriad and drastic ways, mankind and the

way people think has not altered much. Because the thought process and emotions of humans are still the same, many philosophical works, even ones published a long time ago still hold true and valid. It is hard to say for sure just how far spread of an impact this book has had on the history of the world. It is fair to say that it would be very beneficial The Prince for any leader of a country to read this book. Doing so could save entire countries from falling into peril. One thing is for sure: Machiavellis book The Prince and his contribution to political discussion will not soon be forgotten.