The Influence of Machiavelli

Modified: 2nd Nov 2021
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Niccoló Machiavelli, who was born May 3rd, 1469 in Florence, Florentine Republic during the Medici family's exile. In 1512 the Medici family regained their authority and jailed Machiavelli for being involved in trying to organize a militia against their return.

Machiavelli then wrote The Prince ​​which is a handbook for politicians on the utilization of heartless, self-serving craftiness motivating the expression "Machiavellian" and setting himself up as the father of modern political theory.

Machiavelli was not only known for his extensive knowledge on politics but also for his profound research and intelligence on the concept of war. War is an extension of politics and The Art of War ​ expressly details the necessity of a state militia and also promotes the idea of armed citizenry. People are stronger together but weak when they are alone and Machiavelli explains that in his book The Discourses on Livy.

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​He wrote the book because "he brings new modes and orders, a dangerous task given the envy of men, but one motivated by​ the desire to work for the common benefit of everyone."​ ​Machiavellian principles are utilized as a guide for leadership and management and his speculations are evident in contemporary American politics. Machiavelli clearly indicates in his early works that there are specifics ways of being the correct leader that a country needs and knowing not only how, but also when to properly strategize in order to successfully win wars. The information in these books were written as advice and full warning of how to do and how not to do things. Machiavelli's book on the intake of war and politics not only affected life, but it continues to influence and affect modern day society in America in so many ways.

In The Prince​​, Machiavelli explains how to acquire and maintain a position of political power there are three ways to do so in which Machiavelli details the good and bad. "First, to ruin them: second, go live personally in them; third, let them live according to their laws (Prince 44)" Machiavelli states that to conquer a city always dominate it in the best possible way and by doing that the city can be rebuilt to the likes of the ruler and have no ties of past loyalty.

Step two and three lets the people of that city continue to believe in their faith and practice their own beliefs while giving them a sense of security. It is also during these steps that the ruler risks being overrun or even possible overthrown. The people know that they are depending on the leaders friendship and power and will do everything they possibly can to maintain that security. Machiavelli states that " It is easier to preserve a city by allowing it to live in liberty according to the customs of its citizens than by any other method. (Prince 44)" Both the Spartans and Romans are examples in this method since this technique forced them to disband many cities to be able to hold Greece.

There is no precise method for making sure staying in power over a city with their old customs still intact, doesn't end up failing in multiple ways other than completely eliminating the past and starting a new future. In a way, Machavelli foresaw that having multiple different leaders competing with one another and erasing what has been done by past leaders is evident in modern day America. In our government, Democrats and Republicans are continuously fighting one another in order to become a part of Legislature or even in becoming the next president of the United States. Over the years, there seems to be a pattern in where they elect a president, and when they are in office the citizens seem to disagree with their political choices and then the next time they elect a democrat in hopes that it'll be different. During their election campaign they promise the citizens plans of action in order to make a change, however everyone disagrees with​ one another which makes it harder to do what they've promised to the people leaving it unfinished and then forgotten at the end of their term. With this happening, people are constantly​ starting to get upset with the unfinished business America has, then they start to compare presidency's wishing for the past and hating the present.

Machiavelli describes in The Discourses On Livy​ ​ a government that represents each part of a society as a republic, however that doesn't imply that each individual has a voice. In Rome, the plebeians typically had nearly zero direct influence, yet their inclinations were forcefully taken care of by the incredibly powerful tribunes of the plebs, who could veto practically any activity of the state. Machiavelli's motivation isn't to push democracy, however it is to suggest the absolute best type of republican government that is realistic.

It is also critical to take note of the fact that Machiavelli considers conflict among the groups in the society unavoidable, necessary, and important, in making the best type of government. Machiavelli believes that at least some conflict in general shows that human nature is inevitable that it represents the natural dynamic of a republic. Such clash is obviously conceivably hazardous and it must be diverted by well-planned sociopolitical structures.

In any case, without conflict, a society can't work at the minimum not well or for long. This line of reasoning is the base of the separation of powers in modern theories "Governmental powers and responsibilities intentionally overlap; they are too complex and interrelated to be neatly compartmentalized. As a result, there is an inherent measure of competition and conflict among the branches of government." (NCSL) The separation of powers touches on the duties of the government separating them into different branches in order to restrain any one branch from practicing the center elements of another while their goal is to separate the power and accommodate governing rules.

The government has many branches including a militia of the United States of America.

In The Art of War, ​ ​Machiavelli thoroughly explains how to form an army and also how to navigate the battlefield. Machivelli states that when in battle, the militia has to always know when to retreat "In the first case, when they are aware that they can no longer stand their ground, some generals have ordered their subordinate commanders to separate and retreat with their forces by different routes to some appointed rendezvous."(The Art of War 121) Machiavelli also goes into depth with the appropriate battle formations and the benefits of attacking the enemy with perfect forms. When America's militia also always plans ahead knowing the in's and exits of their destinations they try to have goals, and communications within each other, and sometimes with spies already imbedded in the threats vicinity which means they never on purpose go in blind.

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The information that Machiavelli wrote in these books soon became popular in past culture and is still popular in today's culture. In The Prince​ ​ Machiavelli gives tactics in ways that could benefit anyone to be a leader and ways that Machiavelli believed that powerful people were able to succeed through deception other than being honest and real. Machiavelli states that "The end justifies the means" which means that a good outcome excuses any wrongs committed to get to the end.

When The Prince​ ​ was first released many people believed it was brutal and dishonest but while there were some admiries out in crowds his books never truly had an audience till after his death. His works were posted in the church and studied by multiple leaders that lead people all over the world. Even today some people still find Machiavelli devious and unscrupulous, especially in politics which the term Machiavellian comes from. In Discourses onLivy​ it explained lots of ways why a government should be a specific way and while America did not adapt entirely the same concept there are similarities that can be compared when studying the system of America.

War and militia dates back over centuries ago an army eventually became a necessity as sign of riches and prosperity and protection from war. Machiavelli goes into depth with how to deal with war in The Art of War​ ​ and impossible decisions associating with it.

In conclusion, Machiavelli influenced every part of history especially the Renaissance whether if people agreed with his opinions or not Machiavelli's stories were vital to America's future. Machiavelli's contribution to the Renaissance was an overall look of morality in society which defined the field of political science and the thoughts known as classical realism. This added to the musings of thinkers all through the Renaissance, and keeps on being pertinent today.

Works Cited

Machiavelli, Niccolò. The Prince​ ​.​​United States, Dante University Press, 2002.

Machiavelli, Niccolò. Discourses on Livy​ ​. Digireads Com, 2018

Warnock. ​Separation of Powers--An Overview​,

Machiavelli, Niccol​ò.​Machiavelli: The Art of War. ​Forgotten Books, 2015


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