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The Prince

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The Prince, the philosopher Machiavelli's most famous work, was a book dedicated to the leader Lorenzo de Medici, written on the topic of how to be an effective ruler. The basis of Machiavelli's theory was that conditions of a society rise and fall perpetually as time continues, and a successful leader must learn to cope with these fluctuations. Of all the philosophers so far, Machiavelli's take on the obligations of leaders and on government itself has been the most agreeable. In order to contend with constant change, leaders must understand and consider 5 key ideas: fortuna, virtu, necessita, occasione, and ordini. The factual existence and proof of these ideas are demonstrated today. Fortuna is the idea that everything that occurs, occurs by chance. ...read more.


Machiavelli was greatly disliked for his opinions expressed in The Prince. He thought that politics was a science; by studying the lives of great politicians of the past, the world today could supposedly do the same and gain the same results. In addition, he appropriately believed religion and morals should be eliminated from politics altogether, leaving politics amoral (with no knowledge of morals). This stated that leaders, therefore, could do bad or "evil" things in order to gain a greater good, such as in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki - though many lives were lost, more would have been inevitably taken if the war had dragged on. Sometimes, however, leaders misjudge what the "greater good" actually is, and ends up doing immoral or at least incorrect things without any more-positive results; in these instances, according to Machiavelli, the leader is in fact in the wrong. ...read more.


As a result of this, Machiavelli developed a 7th idea of an economy of violence - if people do not listen to the government, then they must be punished. A truly competent leader would be able to minimize the amount of punishment and violence, and maximize prosperity. The US is once again a good example of this - the government has created laws, which, if the people abide by them, allow benefits for the abiding individuals; however, those who break the laws are punished. Machiavelli's views are accurate in stating, "The end justifies the means." Though sometimes certain situations are too extreme to be applied to this theory, the idea in itself is appropriate, for if there is a greater good to be had, then sometimes "evil" acts are necessary. Society is in constant change, and leaders who have been accepted and beneficial have been able to cope with these changes. ...read more.

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