Osowiecki HIST3353 Peer Review Essay revised

Machiavelli is not a monster he is simply a realist

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Machiavelli is not a monster, he is simply a realist. Virtue is not an alien notion to him, nor is it wholly abhorrent. To this point he explains, “...for if everything is considered carefully, it will be found that something which looks like virtue, if followed, would be his ruin; whilst something else, which looks like vice, yet followed brings him security and prosperity” (Machiavelli Chapter 15). Anything, if followed blindly, will eventually lead to destruction. A prince must be willing to think, and to adapt, he cannot allow things like virtue to cloud his mind. He must do the hard thing, the mean thing, but in the end he is thanked for it. Having established the ideal position of pope and prince, it remains to be seen which Julius II is more rightly called. However, it does not take very much effort to discover which way Julius leans.
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When Julius is asked why he makes a point of declaring his nationality, he responds, “I consider it the very height of piety to ennoble my nation” (p.56). Clearly it is not the occupation of the pope to ennoble any nation, other than that of Christendom. His aim is to strengthen his nation by demonstrating the heights of power that he can attain, and he states there is no more noble goal than aiding one’s own nation. That being said, it is a decidedly secular goal and not one befitting a man holding the station of pope. On the other hand a prince is all but required to ennoble his nation. One must also consider that, Julius’ methods for achieving power are princelier more so than papal. War, and subterfuge are not arts that should be practiced by a pope. Furthermore, in Erasmus' dialogue Peter asks, “But do you honestly believe that there is no difference between being called holy and being holy” (p.47). Of course Julius II does not even try to respond to the question, because to him there is no difference. To Julius, The appearance of being holy accomplishes all the same functions of actually being holy and so to him it simply seems a waste. This
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  • Spring '13
  • Prof.Myers
  • Erasmus, The Prince, Julius, Pope Julius II, Papal States, Pope Pope Julius II

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