Machiavelli essay outline

Many of the great Christian students of politics had done the same: Augustine in book 5 chapter 19 of his De civitate dei , Giles of Rome in his De regimine principum , and Thomas Aquinas in his De regno ad regem Cypri. That result seems to be something that Machiavelli had anticipated. The twenty-six chapters of the work fall into three natural divisions.


The theme of the opening chapters of The Prince is the types of principalities and the modes of their acquisition. Machiavelli sets aside what he calls the hereditary principality—a principality devoted to the preservation of inheritance—in chapter 2, as the first and least interesting kind of principality.

It is the principalities that are acquired that are of most interest to him.

He treats principalities that are acquired by addition, and principalities that have previously lived under their own laws. The subsequent chapters discuss acquisition through crime, through alliance with the people, in relation to military force, and in relation to God. According to Aristotle, political regimes were to be classified on two bases: the number of those ruling one, few, many , and whether rule was for the sake of the common good or for the private good of the rulers.

That shift presages a larger shift away from the common good and justice, which were the themes of classical philosophy. By considering principalities from the standpoint of acquisition, Machiavelli brings up another theme that marks his shift away from classical and Christian thought—the theme of necessity. The hereditary prince is of little interest to Machiavelli. As Machiavelli examines the different types of new principality, he suggests that the most self-reliant princes have the greatest success.

Machiavelli suggests the possibility of a new sort of virtue: not obedience to the commandments of God, but seizing opportunities from fortune. In that chapter he addresses himself not only to princes but to all men. Past writers on republics and principalities, he says, have taught men what they should do rather than showing them how men act in fact.

The virtue of courage, for example, strikes a proper balance in matters of fear.


Erring by excess is the vice of rashness, erring by defect the vice of cowardice. Machiavelli instead presents several pairs of qualities for which men are commonly praised or blamed, without indicating which are praiseworthy and which blameworthy. He suggests that virtue consists in the proper use of the qualities he mentions, while managing the praise and blame that goes with them. Our politics in the US is currently in hyper mode Which is not uncommon.

The Prince Essay Topics & Writing Assignments

The only guarantees are that it will change over time because a new Prince will come to power and rule. Sum times for the better, or worst. The Prince is really all about human nature! It was for the grandson. He wanted to flatter him by making him think he was also going to be magnificent. Your email address will not be published. Boston University More Publications. The Brink. February 6, Twitter Facebook. How does the book Prince affect our today goverment and society like it did back in the s?

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