Thursday, October 28, 2010

Machiavelli THE PRINCE

1. Which of the following would be most successful in business today? And what kind of business would they run (Internet startup, chain store, international conglomerate, NGO, mafia)? Remirro da Orca (chapter 7), Oliverotto da Fermo (chapter 8) Cesare Borgia.

In the vast variety of businesses today, a formulated man should aspire  to run each one using examples of the three following characters from The Prince by Machiavelli:   Remirro de Orca, who is the  best example for  a government business; Oliverotto da Fermo, who is the best example for an art or design business;  and Cesare Borgia, who is the best example for a family run, ecclesiastical business. Each of these noblemen was brought up by Machiavelli for his strengths, and each one was sorted out by his own weaknesses or findings.  Remirro de Orco was appointed power over the disordered region of Romagna after Duke Valentino of Milan acquired it. The unifier chosen by the Duke was Remirro de Orca. Eventhough he was considered a “cruel and resolute individual,” De Orca was able to bring Romagna back to a state of peace in a short amount of time (Machiavelli 36). For this, Remirro gained respect. In government type businesses, such as the armed forces and serious top secret affairs. As Remirro proved, a  leader must be stern and cruel, but he must be able to pull everything together in an organized fashion. After all, a government business leader must be respected as Remirro was. Oliverotto da Fermo, on the other hand, was an orphan and a soldier who gained power from the lower classes. Fermo had little fortune and was not considered a virtuoso, but he was able to use his vigor and cleverness to make it to chief officer in the Italian military and he used his determination to seize the city himself. With this idea of having a clever and creative mind that could raise Fermo to the top, he would be successful in a creative, design type business. Here, Oliverotto da Fermo was able to  use structure, his great determination, and his cleverness in creating a material, an object, or a principle that was made vigorously. The last man Cesare Borgia was of great fortune, and he rose into power over Romagna because his father was the powerful Pope Alexander VI. Cesare had fortune and support from his father and from the Catholic Church, but unfortunately, after the death of his father, Cesare’s powerful position was overruled within a few months. Cesare would need to work in a business that was family run, and especially one that would include a religious factor. Casare became a Cardinal in the church and was successful with the help of his family connections. Remirro da Orca, Oliverotto da Fermo, and Cesare Borgia have unique attributes that contribute to their reputation and history today, and both the adequate and poor characteristics that they have could fit them into businesses in the present.

2. Who is a prince's greatest ally? (Chapters 9, 19, 20, 21)


Whether it comes with acquiring the position or maintaining the principality, a prince will endure hardships; therefore, it is vital that a prince comprehends whom to become allies with, how to keep them, and when allies are most needed. A prince will never be able to escape being disliked by a party of subjects in the populace and a prince must be careful in choosing allies that might dominate over his absolute power. It is said to be dependable to befriend the common people in a population, because these citizens will not seek an equilibrium or sense of equal playing field with the prince. With the nobles, however, they can be important allies with their powers, but only as long as a prince does not seek noble allies that do not depend on his powers. These nobles will seek equality and even conspiracy to extract power from the prince for themselves.  A prince must accumulate healthy allies and must also learn how to satisfy his allies to solidify them as loyal. Being mindful of conspiracies, it would be smart of a prince to not rob his subjects of their deserved power and especially of their women. Also, a prince may want to rely on a fortress; however, such a safeguard will provide useless aid unless the Prince realizes the voice of his engulfed people. There is strategy to choosing an ally when it has not already been specified for whom a prince should definitely entrust. When a campaign takes place, it is first essential that a prince chooses sides.  Neutrality will only solve topical perils and will eventually lead to the loss of benevolence from both sides of the campaign. Ultimately, "in order to avoid immediate peril, an irresolute prince most often embraces neutrality and most often comes to grief" (Machiavelli 85). In this situation, it is advised that a prince chooses the stronger side. If the strong side wins then the Prince will have additional power and safety; if the strong side loses, then the prince will still have guardianship as the strong power fights to get back what it lost. There is much complexity that goes into acquiring allies, but there are also many benefits in receiving allies to hold up the principality; as long as the prince can maintain dominance over them.
3. According to Machiavelli, when is generosity a good thing? (Be specific, identify, and cite his argument).

In gaining power, a prince should be assertive and confident and he should equally understand that a careful amount of generosity can win the loyalty of his subjects, strengthen an army, and enhance the benefits of his ruling. With obtaining loyalty, a prince must give back the appreciation that he receives from his allies. He must keep the friendship of his common people for his own absolute power, and he must honor his nobles who choose to be dependent on him and can be trusted not to create conspiracies. When subjects expect spite or arrogance from a prince, yet receive his generosity and trustworthiness, they will feel obligated to be loyal to him. Machiavelli stated that "only those methods of defense which depend upon one's own resourcefulness are good, certain, and enduring" (Machiavelli 91).  Machiavelli wants one to understand that overall peace will sustain a principality and the strength in warfare will allow this to be achieved. Providing troops with generosity of weaponry and defensive intelligence is suggested to inspire the subjects indulging in war. Also, being intelligent as a prince in providing for the troops will enhance his dominance and loyalty. One of Machiavelli's famous arguments is whether a prince should rather be loved or feared. He decides that every prince should wish to be "kind rather than cruel. Nevertheless, he must take care to avoid misusing his kindness" (65). Compassion and generosity are vital for a prince to have in order to gain appreciation from his people. A prince must be careful; however, because if he shows too much compassion for his subjects, then the deserved punishment will not be given and a chain of disorder will begin. Too much cruelty and punishment will not be accepted by a population either, and it is fear and love that a prince attains full dominance. In this equilibrium of fear and love, generosity is a clear, quintessential component that a prince must practice.

4. Use The Beatitudes to argue against Machiavelli.

In The Prince,  Machiavelli aspires for an overall rule of dominance and tyranny, and this can offend the Catholic religion and morals in its characterization of a prince's values; one of these such entities that may be offended is “The Beatitudes”.  “The Beatitudes “are a significant list of eight statements used by Jesus to bless a poor or unfortunate category of people so that they are considered fortunate. Machiavell,i on the other hand, positioned his ideal prince among the stronger parties, where he would only immorally use the lower class for their dependence on him and to solidify his power. A moral of The Beatitudes contradicted by Machiavelli is "Blessed are the meek; for they shall posses the land" ( St. Mathew ). The meek would be considered the humble and overly compliant common people in which a prince could take advantage of to sustain his position. Also, a prince who has been brought up by the church is suggested by Machiavelli, because then he does not have to undergo much difficulty maintaining his power since the church will do much of the neutralizing and congealing of the principality. Machiavelli explains it when he states, "Ecclesiastical princes alone can hold states without defending them, and subjects without governing them" (Machiavelli 49). Therefore, in a prince’s attempt to match the ability of previous rulers, he must know that fortune and ability can get himself a facile term through the Catholic church. This, likewise, goes against the Beatitude explaining that the merciful or compassionate should obtain  appreciation and mercy themselves. In this Ecclesiastical ruling, the church is putting forth compassion for the principality, yet the prince gets credibility for a successful rule. Another significant Beatitude is the one stating "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God" ( St. Mathew ).  Principalities should reach a state of peace that is longed to be maintained through military warfare. A prince, therefore, would be considered the peacemaker who assesses the attitudes of his people. Ceasar Borgia, exemplifies this in that he "was considered cruel; yet his cruelty was restored Romagna, uniting it in peace and faith" (65). Borgia is a peacemaker through his use of understood cruelty, but his ultimate bringing of peace does not uplift those who seek peace in the lower classes. Machiavelli asks for many of the morals that are in the Beatitudes; however, these morals are asked for by and given to the prince; ultimately so that he can gain more power.

5. Use Machiavelli to argue against The Beatitudes.

Rather than the generously uplifting the lower classes as guided by the Catholic Beatitudes, Machiavelli advises for Princes to indirectly act to empower themselves. This can be done in a helpful manner, however, because a principalities well being is achieved through the people's devotion to the prince. In the time of Machiavelli and the Medici rule in Florence, the poor classes targeted by the Beatitudes would not have been educated enough to intelligently make political decisions. Therefore, a prince must "learn other than good, making use of this capacity or refraining from it according to need" (Machiavelli 62). Some princes can be generous, while others are covetuous; some are cruel, while others are understanding; but princes must choose their condition of ruling based on feedback that they receive which is either of praise or condemnation. Therefore, in their choice of generosity or need, it is suggested that Princes choose richer, more intelligent noblemen to share the truth with so that he can rightfully respond intelligently to the feedback. This is not helping the lower class, but choosing whom to give attention to heighten the prestige of a prince's rule. In “The Beatitudes” this relinquishes the clean at heart, because it is fortune rather than purity that will contribute to the upbringing of a successful principality (St. Mathew).  A prince should make sure to avoid obsequiousness, where subjects front the truth to pay the Prince his deserved loyalty. To get around this, a prince must leave the less intellectually opinionated to pay their due respect, and must choose the nobles for the truth before a prince proceeds to do what he wishes. Again, in “The Beatitudes” this out rules the meek subjects because their compliance is used to sustain a prince's royalty and  principalities of unity without having to devote value to these compliments (St. Mathew). A prince must be careful in choosing his allies and entrusted figures. A prince cannot choose a party more powerful than himself; however, he cannot choose one that will not be able to fight its way in a campaign. Therefore, a prince must remember to ask for mercy rather than becoming a prisoner of mercy to a more dominant subject. The merciful is intended to obtain mercy, but a prince must maintain order in his principality. His trust can go into others, but all mercy should ultimately come back to the prince (St. Mathew). “The Beatitudes” are a significant article that extracts morality from people to care for others; however, it can be aimed  towards the lower classes.  The prince, ultimately, must first focus on grasping his principality before he worries about giving power and material goods to the classes beneath him.
Works Cited
Machiavelli, N. (1532). The Prince.
St Mathew, Initials. (n.d.). The Eight Beatitudes. Retrieved from

1 comment:

  1. Your responses to the Beat vs. Mac arguments are well constructed, as is the first question. I want to focus on the question you should have put more work into: question 2.

    Here, you rightly identify the populations that make up possible allies, but there are direct quotes you could use from the book that you have decided to skip over. It is vital that the historian cite primary sources directly both to back up arguments and to bring the context of history and its people to the study of an era.