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Mike Byra HIST 300B Paper 1 Comparison on Popular Support It Takes People to Rule In the town square of Cesena

lay the body of Remirro de Orco cut into two pieces. Cesare Borgia gave the order to kill Orco in a spectacle to sway the people through wonder and amazement.1 Such were the measures taken by rulers to keep the popular support of the people because a ruler's power and stability weighed heavily on whether the people hated the ruler enough to rebel and revolt. The need for popular support and the means to acquire it are depicted in Machiavelli's The Prince and Cicero's On Obligations. To understand the need for popular support it is first vital to know the similar references made in both of the texts. Machiavelli mentioned the need for popular support when referring to ruling civil principalities. Men do not undertake campaigns against rulers who are well defended and not hated by the people.2 Having popular support in this context maintains power and it also gives a strong sense of security from invading forces. Cicero mentioned that without human labor, through support of the people, there would be no possibility for things like healthcare and agriculture.3 Such necessities rely on the unity of the people and how they work together to achieve their highest potential, but none of this would be possible without the popular support of the ruler. The main point is that to achieve these things a ruler needs popular support from the people. A major aspect in keeping the popular support of the people is to hold power over them, which becomes apparent through Machiavelli's writing. For a ruler to acquire power he needs to be feared rather than loved and this works because as Machiavelli implies, "for it is perfectly
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Machiavelli, Niccolo. Ed. Price, Skinner and Price, Russell. 1994. The Prince. New York, NY: Cambridge, 26. Ibid., 38. 3 Cicero, Marcus. Ed. Walsh, P.G. 2000. On Obligations. New York, NY: Oxford, 58.

possible to be feared without incurring hatred."4 If a ruler does not touch the people's property or anything that is theirs then there is no incurring hatred, which leads a ruler to hold the support of the people.5 On the other hand, Cicero believes it is better to be loved than feared, but he end result is the same by calling for the people's popular support. The means to have the popular support of the people is achieved by winning the people's affection.6 The actions taken by the ruler leads people to either view them as honorable or deceitful. Machiavelli views a ruler as a cunning fox, who uses deceit. Cicero believes this characteristic is treacherous and an injustice that will only be found out in the end. Still, there is a comparison between the two views because Machiavelli still calls for a ruler to at least appear to be good and virtuous.7 In comparison, Cicero feels that a ruler needs to act in accordance with the way they wish to be perceived by the people.8 Therefore, the two writers vary in their ways of achieving popular support, but they still feel that their required actions are necessary when holding popular support. It becomes apparent that both Machiavelli and Cicero desire the popular support of the people and the hopes of not incurring hatred. Machiavelli feels that a ruler needs to worry about the community as a whole over any kind of individuals.9 Executing individuals who pose a threat to your power does not outweigh the entire community; therefore, it is necessary for a ruler to focus solely on the community for support instead of individuals. Likewise, Cicero adds to Machiavelli's point by stating that having control of the community can be achieved only through wisdom and virtue.10 The key to political success lies in caring about the community

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Machiavelli, 59. Ibid., 60. 6 Cicero, 60. 7 Machiavelli, 62. 8 Cicero, 38. 9 Machiavelli, 58. 10 Cicero, 62.

through either goodwill or by the rank of the ruler.11 The key point is to have popular support, for a ruler must not worry about certain individuals such as noblemen, but the community as a whole. More so, Machiavelli says that people will not plot against you and threaten your power when you have the popular support of the community because the plotters would not want to face the reprisal of the masses who supported the ruler.12 Basically Machiavelli and Cicero both believe the good will of the inhabitants is vital, in order, to hold onto power. Machiavelli regards the fortresses as unimportant in comparison to the good will of the inhabitants. If a ruler possesses fortresses, but he does not have the good will of the people then the fortresses become obsolete.13 The overall idea is that fortresses depend on circumstances, but the good will of the people becomes greater than any type of fortification. Cicero also depends on good will by stating that, "fear is a poor guarantor of a long life, whereas good will is a faithful one, and indeed endures forever."14 Both Machiavelli and Cicero feel that the good will of the people guarantees their support because all types of fortifications and precautions do not hold as much weight as the benefit of the peoples' support. Rulers should acquire the popular support of the people by how they act in accordance with their own generosity. Machiavelli relies on generosity by not taking any of the peoples' property nor giving them any allotments of money since this will lead the ruler to be hated through high taxation.15 Instead, he believes that the taking of other peoples' possessions who are conquered works best since there is no loss on the part of the ruler or their subjects. More so, Cicero feels that to acquire the popular support of the masses a ruler needs to be generous to

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Ibid., 61. Machiavelli, 64. 13 Ibid., 75. 14 Cicero, 62. 15 Machiavelli, 56.

attain the people's affection.16 Therefore, to have the popular support of the people a ruler needs to establish affection through helping out others in their community. Cicero feels that the obligation to be generous needs to benefit friends and not harm anyone.17 Machiavelli and Cicero both share the obligation for acting generous towards others, through different means, but the overall goal is to acquire the popular support of the people. In regard to the way the people behave, the main concern with their popular support relies on their needs. Machiavelli makes the point that the people want only not to be oppressed.18 For a ruler to hold onto power they need to please the people, who only have the desire for their own laws and justice. This is refuted again by Cicero, who states that justice must be observed for all in society even those at the very bottom.19 Therefore, the people need to have their own foundations established through good laws, which create understanding between the ruler and the people. The overall desire for the ruler is to have the people hold onto their own property, laws and possessions, which in turn relies on the ruler's desire to hold onto power. Since the overall goal of a ruler is to hold onto power, the people's goals must be met in order for the ruler to hold power, which is attained from the popular support of the people. Machiavelli and Cicero through their viewpoints and inquiries demonstrate all the necessities a ruler needs to acquire popular support of the people. They both stress that a ruler needs to avoid being hated by the people by not taking their possessions. More so, they feel that to get the people to not hate you a ruler needs the good will of the people by either affection or letting them hold onto their own laws. If a ruler wants to hold the popular support of the people he needs to look at the community as a whole and not concern himself with individuals.

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Cicero, 64. Ibid., 17. 18 Machiavelli, 36. 19 Cicero, 16.