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Gizella Marie E.

Almeda 2010-51819 BOOK TITLE: The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli SUMMARY: The Prince is a non-fiction book which shows the analysis of how to gain and maintain political power disregarding all moral and ethical values. It has 26 chapters which is all dedicated to Lorenzo Medici. It describes about the model prince who must have the ability and the correct tactics to maintain its own state and should think not only for present problems but also for the future ones. The book emphasizes the hidden agendas and the ideas that plays inside a leaders mind, and as a proof Machiavelli features events that shows that. One should not enjoy the benefit of time but the benefit of one's virtue and prudence instead. Its because time can bring evil as well as good. The first three chapters of the book start by describing that states are either republics or principalities. There are different types of principalities: hereditary, mixed and new principalities. Hereditary principalities are the one being passed from father to son. New principalities are completely new or the one never existed before. And, mixed principalities just like new principality is not hereditary but have been established for a long time. On chapter 4, Machiavelli emphasizes that a kingdom revolving around the king, is difficult to enter but easy to hold. Then, in order to enter, the prince must eliminate the old bloodline of the king. To illustrate this, Machiavelli used the Persian empire of Darius III, conquered by Alexander the Great. He pointed the situation to the Medici, wherein they can find this historical example similar to the Kingdom of the Turkey during their time, making this a potentially easier invasion to hold as compared to France. Chapter 5 describes three ways to conquer states that have been used to live freely as accordance to their own laws. First is to devastate them, second is to occupy them and third is to allow the state to maintain its own laws in order to keep them friendly. And after establishing a friendly relationship to the people they can start charging them taxes and establish an oligarchy. Then chapter 6-9 goes now in acquiring new lands. In order to acquire more lands, there are four ways: First is from your own ability; second is from fortune, which means its from someone elses virtue; third is a gift or from others' arms; and lastly is through inequity. According to Machiavelli, the first one is the best option, because it is the easiest to maintain on to after you have conquered it. The prince who rises to power through his own skills and virtues rather than luck tend to have a hard time rising to the top, but once he reach the top he is very secure in his position since, he effectively defeated his opponents and earned already a great respect from everyone else. And because he already proved himself to the people, he has to make fewer negotiations or compromises with his supporters. After discussing ways on acquiring lands, chapter 10 is about determining the strength of state. The way to judge the strength of a state is to see whether it can defend itself, or whether it

needs to depend on allies. And another thing is he must always aim for the approval of his fellow citizens. As addition to the first three types of principalities, on chapter 11, another principality is discussed, which is the Ecclesiastical principalities, namely the states of the Catholic community. According to Machiavelli, once founded, these principalities are easier to maintain, since, they do not need to defend themselves militarily and only little governance is needed. Then, chapter 12-14 discussion is about how a state can attack other territories and defend itself. A prince must always pay close attention to military affairs if he wants to remain its territory, its because the two essential components of a strong state are good laws and good armies. Good laws cannot exist without good armies. The prince now must learn how to use his army, as well as how the art of war goes on. Since, according to Machiavelli, A prince must have no other objective, no other thought, nor take up any profession but that of war. It stated in the book that the easiest way of losing a state is by neglecting the art of war, and the best way to win on the other hand is the mastery of it. Machiavelli enumerated the four types of armies, they are: (1)Mercenaries, the hired soldiers which are unreliable. (2)Auxiliaries, the soldiers loaned by other rulers, which are also unreliable. (3)Native troops composed of one's own citizens who are so far, this the most desirable kind. (4)Mixed troops, the combination of mercenaries or auxiliaries and native troops, this is still less desirable than native army. Then on chapters 15-23, Machiavelli discusses what are the qualities needed in order to maintain the best control over the state. Some behaviour and character that the book teaches are: (1)It is better to be thrifty than generous so as to be cruel than merciful. (2)It is better to break promises if keeping them would suffer one's interests. (3)Prince must avoid making himself hated and unloved since the kindness and compassion of the people is a better defense than anything. (4)Prince should carry out great projects which can give him honors. What important is to have the wisdom to distinguish what projects be most rewarding and then pursuing them bravely (5)Prince should also choose wise companions and advisers, a very few that he can trust on. He must have the wisdom to recognize good and reliable advice from bad and flattery. Then on chapter 24, Machiavelli said that the prince should not blame bad luck in times of falling. He mentioned that one "should never fall in the belief that you can find someone to pick you up". Thus, he continued chapter 25 saying that fortune is only the judge of half of our actions and that we have control over the other half with our own hardwork and ability. The Prince is finished with a call by Machiavelli for the whole Italy to be united under one prince. Machiavelli said that it is how God wants it to be. He even asks for the help of the Medici family. Its because for Machiavelli, Lorenzo de Medici is Italys best hope if he has to live according to The Prince. COMMENTS:

I find The Prince unique, not because it explains how to take control of other people, but because it gives advice that disregards all ethical and principled values. Ill see that some advices in the book are not morally good, just like saying that Its better to be cruel than merciful. Cruelty, in terms of morality, is not a good thing to promote or to advice. Then, I also find the author Niccolo Machiavelli very courageous in presenting the real nature of human. That human can make a bad behaviour just to protect his power over the state. Just like saying that a prince must charge taxes and build oligarchy on a new acquired principality but allow the state to maintain its own laws in order to keep them friendly. Its like trying to fool the people under their own state. Basically, the idea of the book is that the prince should use a variety of techniques to secure his power. It also shows that men are inherently evil, but despite of evil deeds of a prince, he will be able to end up great. That is why Machiavelli came up with the saying, The end justifies the mean. Although it portrays some unethical principles, I find the The Prince an attempt to reveal the problems with the ruling class. Good governance and maintenance of the state is what the model prince in the book aims. I consider it as a serious attempt to make a framework for the reunification of Italy under the Medici family of Florence. Several dedications to the Medici family are included in the book, he seriously wants Italy to gain its salvation. Machiavelli wants the Medicis to use his knowledge in governing Italy and to unify its people. Though religion can often serve to unify the prince and his people, it can also fail to do so. Thats why Machiavelli intends to separate religion from politics. Some people might disagree with the notion of separation of politics from religion, but in my own point of view, it is correct to do so. Its because religion is not objective. Religion is more on subjective opinion and personal preference. But still, Machiavelli's prince does not aim to preserve moral good or spiritual uprightness; he simply wants to attain and maintain the goodness of his state. He focused only on handling principalities, and does not care about the stand of morality. He aims only for the goodness of ones own state, but how about the other states? He aims only for the peace of ones own principality, and dont mind the outsiders. Its like building on ones own state but letting the other states suffers. On the other hand, since this book is available for everyone, I can also see that the book is also intended to show people what the princes or any leaders are doing in reality in order to maintain a state. He had shown the story behind a leaders decision, and how a prince possesses evils on his minds. Its like looking good on the outside even though youre doing a lot of bad things or sins. For me, I think nowadays the real audience for this work was not even the princes or leaders, but the common people, since the rulers are already doing these methods. All in all, the book gives an overview of what human nature is, hoping that future princes can use great tactics in order to establish peace and security in their kingdoms. The best prince will be able to determine the best course of action, not based on a strict moral or even political code, but simply by understanding the politics general logic presented by Machiavelli. Machiavelli doesn't pretend to know all the answers, but portrays his book as simply a reference

guide to political and military strategy, not obtained through special insight, but through his many years of experience with Italian politics.