Machiavelli Reading 2

Machiavelli Reading 2 - Modern Political Thought: Lecture...

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Modern Political Thought: Lecture notes 09/04/06 I. Machiavelli's problem is human nature (p. 52) A. People are evil and look out only for themselves. They are “fickle, ungreatful, deceptive, and eager to gain.” Therefore, a prince cannot be nice. A Prince must know how to be cruel, deceitful and when to use force. 1. The toolkit of a sucessful prince is a varied one. This is why a prince sometimes must act like a beast. 2. Erasmus said that prince's must never act like beasts because reason distinguishes them from animals. a. Machiavelli says that laws are for men, and force for animals. However, there are cases where laws aren't effective, so man must use force (p. 54) b. However, a ruler must use force wisely (being a fox vs. being a lion). c. The prince must use different abilities and virtues depending on the situation. 3. The ability to change is crucial (p.54) a. You should have good qualities, but at a moment's notice, you must be able to change or be something else. b. It is useful to appear to be good, even if you are not (Caesar Borgia and d'Orco). B. Subjects should be in awe of princes, but they should not hate princes. 1. Princes should be feared, not hated, and love should be purely optional (p. 51) 2. If you are hated by the people or the elite, then they will try to overthrow you, so it is important to be feared, not hated. a. If you are both feared and hated, it is a question of which feeling will overcome the other. This question, Machiavelli says, should be avoided. 3. There are general things to stop revolt a. Don't opress people b. Don't overtax c. Make sure they don't hate you d. Keep the people in awe of you. e. Don't take away people's property f. Don't take away men's wives g. Only use violence when necessary 4. However, one can never be certain that these things will ensure your safety. Therefore, you must always be ready for change. C. One of Machiavelli's key pieces of advice is the proper use of violence. 1.
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Machiavelli Reading 2 - Modern Political Thought: Lecture...

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