Niccolo Machiavelli The name Machiavelli may ring a bell to you. Well, within the past ten years a now deceased music artist used his name, maybe not the most important view of his name, but it opened my eyes to a new person of thought. You may have heard of him as "the man who faked his death" or as a philosopher who taught evil in his writings. "His name would be synonymous with deviousness, cruelty, and willfully destructive rationality; no thinker was ever so demonized or misunderstood than Machiavelli" (1). He has influenced people from his time, for an example Shakespeare and Elizabeth I, and Napoleon. Also people from more present times like Hitler and other people who studied military tactic.
Machiavelli has had great influence as a military thinker. In many ways, he is considered to be the founder of modern military science. His piece The Art of War, it has been said to lay the foundations of modern strategy. His study in The Prince of the rational use of force to get, keep, or increase political power is a direct antecedent of the work of the great European military theorist Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831), author of On War (1833). Also, Machiavelli's repeated call for a citizen army- and his practical work as a government official in trying to build such an army for Florence await the mass armies that, ever since the age of the French Revolution, have fought most wars of modern national states.
"He admires figures such as Alexander VI and Julius II, universally hated throughout Europe as ungodly popes, for their astonishing military and political success" (1). Also, the Roman Empire influenced Machiavelli on politics and lay bearing on his thoughts of military science as well. The Prince, written by Niccolo Machiavelli, is one of the first surveys of politics and science from a scientific and rational perspective. Machiavelli theorizes that the state is only created if the people cooperate and work to maintain it. The state is also one of man's greatest accomplishments, and the state takes dominance over everything. The state should be one's primary focus, and maintaining the sovereignty of the state one's most vital concern.
The state is founded on the power of it's military. Therefore, a strong military is vital to maintaining the state. Machiavelli believes that men respect power, but they will take advantage of kindness. He believes that when given the opportunity one must destroy completely, because if one does not he will certainly be destroyed too.
The prince should lead the military, and he has to be intelligent. An effective politician can make quick and intelligent choices about the problems that can arise before him. He must also have virtue, which means he is strong, confident, talented, as well as smart. A prince cannot be uncertain, because uncertainty is a sign of weakness. Fortune controls half of human's actions, and man's will to control the other half.
Virtue is the best defense for fortune, and virtue must be used in order to keep fortune in check. The prince must take advantage of situations based solely on if it is best for the state. He should choose his decisions based on modern and historical examples. A prince cannot consider whether his acts are moral or immoral, and instead he must act in a fair manner for the state. Also, it does not matter how the state achieves its goals, as long as these goals are achieved.
Finally, regardless of the personal morality involved, the prince should be praised if he does benefit the state and criticized if he harms the state. "Machiavelli was the first to discuss politics and social phenomena in their own terms without recourse to ethics or jurisprudence. In many ways you could consider Machiavelli to be the first major Western thinker to apply the strictly scientific method of Aristotle and Averroes to politics" (1). This is Machiavelli's philosophy on politics in which he was condemned for. Many people from his time did not understand what Machiavelli was trying to explain, but in present time we use his name to explain certain countries politics. Machiavelli was a devoted patriot.
He lived at a time when Italy was divided into dozens of city-states, and he was very attached to his homeland of Florence. Even after he was imprisoned and banished out of his homeland and tortured, he returned and that didn't stop him from speaking his mind (1). Machiavelli's bold statement, at the end of The Prince, for the liberation of Italy from foreign invaders marked a major step forward in the growth of national awareness. It took a long time for his hopes to be realized. But in the nineteenth century, when Italy was finally united and freed from foreign power, Machiavelli came to be recognized as one of the prophets of modern patriotism. In conclusion, Machiavelli spoke his mind.
He wrote what he believed, and didn't care what the general public thought. He was a great military thinker, patriot, and an impressive writer. His writings about war have helped great conquerors to try to achieve their goals. "Machiavelli had been unfairly attacked all of his life because of a bad reputation.
But it only got worse after his death. He was continually blasted for his "support" of corrupt ruling. In fact, Machiavellian now means corrupt government. Only recently has the true personality come to light.
The world must change it's vision of the cold, uncaring Machiavelli to the correct view of a patriot and political genius" (2). Bibliography (1) World Civilizations. Richard Hooker. 1996.
Washington State University. 28 Jan. 2003 web > (2) Lub man. Connecticut Business Web.
28 Jan. 2003 web.