The Prince, one of the most popular and well known doctrines of political thought was also one of the greatest works of Niccol'o Machiavelli. First published in 1513, The Prince was written in response to the failure of the Greek-based Italian city-states. Machiavelli wrote The Prince because, despite being a firm Republican, he was also well-documented as a strong patriot. He wanted that his people live under a free but effective government, but he decided that if his nation has to be ruled by a despotic form of government that he would rather have it be a strong yet merciful tyranny.
He wasn't paid for writing The Prince, it wasn't even originally a book, but a series of letters to the Prince Lorenzo de Medici. He wrote it during exile, after he had been arrested and tortured by Medici's people, so it is doubtful that they had a bountiful relationship. Machiavelli's intent, it would seem to the naked eye, was not to taunt the Prince, but to give him advice about how to survive on the throne and to also keep the dynasty in his family after his death. It appeared that he wanted to help the Prince to keep the nation free from invasion and occupation and also how to handle internal problems; such as when to bribe, oppress, cajole etc...
Machiavelli's real objective in writing The Prince was far different from the words that are found composed by him. The letters from Machiavelli to the Prince of Florence were not messages of suggestion as much as they were a job application for a place in his dynasty. The actual ambition of Machiavelli was to use this political hypocrisy to promote his own good. He was a firm believer that one should give the people what they want in order to earn their support and respect. Then, once in the public's good graces, to use your authority, position and support to promote and complete your own agenda, political or otherwise, as long as it would eventually benefit the good of the people. He was a believer that anything can be justified as long as the results in for the common good.
Machiavelli used this idea to coin his most well known phrase, 'the end justifies the means.' He explains that is it necessary to appear to be a lovely moral person, but in reality, to act 'as necessity dictates' and this allows lying, perjury and other immoral acts as long as the overall intent and final product is for the Common Benefit. Machiavelli was the original 'ME generation.' He believed that people act according to their self interests alone, that people are generally equal in mind and body, and that it is this equality amongst man that causes them to war. Without a superior power to suppress the common power of the individual, man is apt to violence. Machiavelli believed that proper government was a cyclical event, with three stages.
The first, tyranny, was the beginning of the new regime, an overthrow of the current government. The second stage, the republic regime, began once authority was imposed and stable. The third and final stage was effective government, which would lead to the people having more leisure time, eventually leading to idleness and corruption. Once this third stage was reached, there would once again be a need for tyranny to restore order among the people. Machiavelli saw a need for harsh government overthrow periodically to keep the peoples from becoming to relaxed in their duties and daily lives. There is definite evidence of this is found in the Rimirro de Or co example (chapter 7) that harsh government can then pave the way for a more liberal regime.
Machiavelli promoted political hypocrisy as an effective form of government because he was a patriot and wanted his people to be free, but live under an effective government. He wanted to expose the problems with the ruling class and illustrate the proper path to the reunification of Italy. He wanted to lead the way for The Prince to use whatever tactics deemed necessary to seize, control and maintain the power of Italy. Machiavelli wanted 'his' Prince, not to be a role model or to encourage spiritual and moral integrity, but only to attain and maintain the principality. Machiavelli also promotes this form of government through political hypocrisy because he wants to establish order in the world. He attempts to prove that man is inherently evil, leading to acceptance of his principals.
Machiavelli does not want to tell people what to do exactly, but to empower them to think on their merit, rather than that of religious, moral or political code. He wanted his book to be a reference of logic rather than a strict code to be followed. Machiavelli promoted this political hypocrisy as a form of government because he felt that it would promote order in the world. MACHIAVELLI: THE PRINCE: Themes and Ideas During Machiavelli's time, society was much different than it had been for previous philosophers. Instead of storing up good works, so as to enjoy paradise, as the medieval man did, the Renaissance man was interested in all things, enjoyed life, strove for worldly acclaim and wealth, and had a deep interest in classical civilizations.
He was born at a time of conflict within Florence, Italy, between the republican leaders and the family of the Medici's, of which the Machiavelli's, especially, had a history of opposition towards. After years of conflict between powers, Machiavelli was exiled from his country. It was during this exile that he wrote his most famous work, The Prince, a piece about political power. Growing up, and through his time in political office, Machiavelli studied the men and / or groups in power, specifically noting their successes and failures. Using this information from his observations, Machiavelli wrote The Prince in order to try to re-enter politics by 'assisting' the man whom had exiled him, Lorenzo de Medici, in his ruling.
Though this was more of a plot to try to gain the favor of Lorenzo, he does note in his book that in order to gain the favor of a prince, you must present him with a gift; that was the purpose of his novel. In it, Machiavelli analysis's the various types of monarchies, analysis's of the different types of states, how they may be obtained, and how they should be ruled. He also describes how power is seized and retained, how to rule the military forces and, the essence of his work, how a prince should act in all circumstances in order to accomplish these tasks. The first philosopher who did not try to lecture or preach on how to reach the 'ideal state' was Machiavelli. He saw society differently: Since it is my intention to write something of use... , I deem it best to stick to the practical truth of things rather than to fancies.
Many men have imagined republics and principalities that never existed at all. Yet the way men live is so far removed from the way they ought to live that anyone who aba.