The Prince paper

The Prince paper - Machiavelli wrote this text between 1513 and 1514 after he was persecuted for conspiracy against the government He wrote this to

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Machiavelli wrote this text between 1513 and 1514 after he was persecuted for conspiracy against the government. He wrote this to the ruler in Florence, Italy, hoping to regain some type of position in the government. He wanted to instruct Medici how to keep the power and order during his reign. Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince is a text, written to show Lorenzo di Piero de’Medici how to maintain power in Florence, that acknowledges religious and philosophical values, but believes their morals must not be practiced if one desires to successfully hold power over a state. Machiavelli states his own ideals thorough his writings, what a prince should be, and supports his views through reasoning about the nature of man. Machiavelli believes there is a strong relation between vice and virtue, and he discusses how to balance these. Harvey C. Mansfield, in his text Machiavelli’s Virtue states Machiavelli believes, “Virtue needs vice as a constant possibility, and in order to keep vice possible, virtue must practice vice occasionally” (18). This means that one cannot truly recognize the goodness in things without the bad. One may not see the positive without the negative. Practically, a prince may not sustain virtue throughout his reign and because of this, Machiavelli states, “It is essential, therefore, for a Prince who desires to maintain his position, to have learned how to be other than good, and to use or not use his goodness as necessity requires” (40). He believes that in life, being “good” is not always a choice, and if it is, it may be a choice that would negatively affect a prince’s power; therefore, “goodness” is not always correct. A ruler needs to know how to act against common morals in order to retain or gain political power. A common problem with not upholding a state of morals is the people’s reaction. After Machiavelli states that rulers must know how to act badly he says, “He must be discreet enough to know
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how to avoid the infamy of those vices” (40). So, when a prince rules rationally and acts without virtue, he must not let the people see this, he must feign virtue if he wishes not to
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This essay was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course HIST 105 taught by Professor Adams during the Spring '08 term at St. Mary MD.

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The Prince paper - Machiavelli wrote this text between 1513 and 1514 after he was persecuted for conspiracy against the government He wrote this to

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