Movie the Patriot Term Paper

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Prince

Theme

The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli, is a practical handbook of political advice for leaders. Its primary purpose is to explain the best ways to obtain and keep political power. The essence of Machiavelli's philosophy is that when it comes to gaining and maintaining power, "the ends justify the means" (94). This is the theme throughout the book. Machiavelli analyzes both contemporary and historical examples of rulers, power, and strategy to support his contentions. He begins with an overview of various forms of government and how they might be best manipulated and ruled by a prince. Mixed monarchies serve a new leader's purposes best because they have no remaining hereditary families to oppose a new prince (35-42). Machiavelli then discusses how to rule newly acquired lands. The best way for a prince to consolidate power in a new territory often depends on how the territory was acquired. Machiavelli looks at each case of how new land is obtained and advises leaders how best to retain control in those lands (46-62). Machiavelli even delves into the specifics of military control and what types of troops are best for keeping a prince in power. He concludes that a prince should never place his fate in the hands of mercenaries and militia, but should always use men who are personally loyal to him to form his army (72-83). Machiavelli then spends some time discussing how a prince should conduct himself. He must seem kind, merciful, and peaceful, but should never avoid being cruel, deceptive, and ruthless in pursuing and maintaining power. A prince should never allow himself to be hated by his people, however. Machiavelli explains how a leader can take cruel measures, limit wasteful spending, and maintain tight control without being hated. On the whole, people should be treated well, not because it's the morally right thing to do, but because it makes them easier to rule (81-104). Machiavelli warns princes to beware of flatterers and advises that they should pick a group of counselors and seek no one else's advice but theirs (116-117). The last few chapters indicate that the motive behind his writings is to encourage a prince to unite Italy and throw out foreign invaders from France, Spain, and Germany. Apparently, he hopes that by recording his "knowledge of the deeds of great men acquired through a long experience...and a constant study of the past," he will inspire some Italian leader to liberate and unite Italy.

What Does Machiavelli Think of "the people" in the Course of Human History?

Machiavelli's work is primarily concerned with the actions of leaders and not…

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