HUM 212 W01
Machiavelli- The Prince
The Prince is sometimes claimed to be one of the first works of modern philosophy, especially modern political philosophy, in which the effective truth is taken to be more important than any abstract ideal. It was also in direct conflict with the dominant Catholic and scholastic doctrines of the time concerning how to consider politics and ethics. The Prince is sometimes claimed to be one of the first works of modern philosophy, especially modern political philosophy, in which the effective truth is taken to be more important than any abstract ideal.
The descriptions within The Prince have the general theme of accepting that the aims of princes—such as glory and survival—can justify the use of immoral means to achieve those ends
Points made in the book
Princes who rise to power through their own skill and resources (their "virtue") rather than luck tend to have a hard time rising to the top, but once they reach the top they are very secure in their position. This is because they effectively crush their opponents and earn great respect from everyone else. Because they are strong and more self-sufficient, they have to make fewer compromises with their allies. According to Machiavelli, when a prince comes to power through luck or the blessings of powerful figures within the regime, he typically has an easy time gaining power but a hard time keeping it thereafter, because his power is dependent on his benefactors' goodwill. He does not command the loyalty of the armies and officials that maintain his authority, and these can be withdrawn from him at a whim. Having risen the easy way, it is not even certain such a prince has the skill and strength to stand on his own feet.
Machiavelli writes that reforming an existing order is one of the most dangerous and difficult things a prince can do. Part of the reason is that people are naturally resistant to change and reform. Those who benefited...