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Exam 2

by: Ayana Smith

Exam 2 POSC 110 - 06

Ayana Smith
GPA 3.0

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Machiavelli's "The Prince"
Introduction to Politics
Edwin Kent Morris
Study Guide
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This 2 page Study Guide was uploaded by Ayana Smith on Tuesday March 1, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to POSC 110 - 06 at Radford University taught by Edwin Kent Morris in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 39 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Politics in Political Science at Radford University.


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Date Created: 03/01/16
Is the Machiavellian approach to politics always the best to take? Explain what Machiavelli means when he says: - It is better to be feared than loved (Ch. 17): keeps the people under your control so they don’t undermine your leadership (safer). Being feared and not hated go well together and the prince can always achieve this if he does not touch the property or the women of his citizens and subjects. o Men are ungrateful and inconstant, simulators and dissimulators, and that they are hungry for profit and quick to evade danger. While you do them good they are devoted to you offering you their lives their possession, their children, as I have said before – but only as long as danger is far off. The moment danger is at hand, they turn away. - Dangers of generosity: if you give too much away than people will continue to expect it and once they don’t get it, they will get very angry o generosity pursed in a way that makes people perceive you as generous will harm you because if you exercise generosity in all modesty as is appropriate it will not be recognized and you will not be able to avoid the reputation of miserliness o Only spending what is your own harms you. There is nothing that consumes itself like generosity. The more you use it, the more you lose the capacity of using it. You either become poor and disdained or to escape poverty, rapacious and hated. There is nothing a prince must avoid more than being at once disdained and hated, and generosity leads to both. - The people: very important to Machiavelli (keep them happy and be an effective ruler) o Nothing can save the prince if he is despised by the people [it is necessary for all princes…to favor the people above the army, because it is the people who carry more weight (95)] o The ultimate goal of a prince is not only to assure his own position but also to exercise power for the “greatest possible benefit of his subjects” (Ch. 7). o Human Nature / Political Animal – Machiavelli reminds us that no rule is absolute, that different historical circumstances call for different kinds of actions - Fortune/Fortuna: treat fortune like a woman, you must be hit and beat her to keep her under your thumb (stay two steps ahead) o Fortuna can be vanquished by the right kind of man. There is a connection between this posture toward Fortuna and the orientation by how to live and rule o By lowering the standards of political excellence one guarantees the actualization of the only kind of political order that is: making due with what you have o The ideal of the right kind necessarily becomes what is actual; the ideal and the actual converge. This way of thinking has had an amazing success Machiavelli as the first political scientist. - First pure analysis of power as a positive trait -Study of power using real events and -Turns the mode of focus to power phenomenon -Inaugurated the breaks with classical political -Uses history and observable phenomenon to make philosophy to political science his normative claims on how to rule effectively *Wants people to stay in the cave. Effectively manipulate and use the shadows and illusions to benefit you and to make the people happy. - If we want to acquire possessions, then that implies that we also want the means to acquire those possessions - Need to recognize that for rulers the study of power is vital: how to acquire it, how to keep it, how to use it - So if a Prince or ruler wants to stay in power, he must, “Learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge or not to use it according to necessity” What do we mean by the break? *the distinctive “break” between political philosophy and political science/theory - Mach broke with all preceding political philosophers (i.e. Plato and Aristotle) - Rather than metaphysical aims and the search for perfect “forms” Machiavelli used observable political phenomena and history to guide his political writings and theories - Machiavelli looks for “realistic” means to accomplish what he thinks are virtuous political goals - Some suggest that what Machiavelli “wants” is not a new political science, per se, but the restoration of the Roman Republic. Mach wanted to restore something, a politics perhaps, that was old and forgotten What is Machiavellianism? - Politics guided exclusively by considerations of expediency - The ends justify the means (Backstabbing, dirty, underhanded style of politics) - Uses all means (fair or foul/iron or poison) to achieve its ends Write about the conditions that the prince was written under. - “the perfect storm” (unstable Italy) - European Renaissance  Declining power of the Church; advances in science and literature - Reflects an awareness of the striking new features of the new military-political geography of Western Europe - Rise of imperial papacy with active military political designs - Intrusion of great nation-states (e.g. France + Spain) - Major foreign powers such as France, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, and even Switzerland battled for regional influence and control - Crumbling of precarious truces preventing states of Italy from warring with each other during the fifteenth century - The Prince as a job application? 1) Secure a government job; 2) Provides theory to stabilize the turbulent Italian city-states – unclear… Machiavelli’s Advice: - Keep the people on your side at all costs - The best way to keep a city accustomed to living freely is through its citizens - Cruelty can be well used if it is executed at a single stroke out of the necessity to secure one’s power and is then not continued but converted into the greatest possible benefit for one’s subjects - The primary foundation of all states is good laws and a good army - Weapons must be wielded by a prince or by a republic and the prince should personally take on the role of general (i.e. commander-in-chief) - Mercenary and auxiliary armies are useless and dangerous - A prince must therefore have no other thought or objective, nor dedicate himself to any other art, but that of war - A prince must keep themselves and their troops well trained; a prince must exercise the mind - While the prince should use power to the benefit of the people, it is necessary for a prince to learn how not to be good and to use or not use this ability according to circumstances - It is good to be generous but a prince is better off being a miser - It is better to be feared than loved - Must be feared but not hated - Men are evil… - Leave property, guns, and women alone - Must emulate the Fox and the Lion  A prince must therefore be a fox to spot the snares and a lion to overwhelm the wolves - As men are wicked and not prepared to keep their word, there is no need to keep your word to them - Men in general judge more with the eye than with the hand, because everyone can see, but few can feel - Good to be miserly but not greedy - Must do everything you can to “look good” – honorable, astute, noble, intelligent and so on - The best fortress for the prince is to be loved by his people - Engage in great feats and extraordinary actions - All choices should be considered dubious - Should reward and encourage “ability” - Should take counsel but only when necessary  Must be good at asking questions


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