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Theory of Political Power, From The Prince-Niccolo Machiavelli’s Book

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  1. Introduction
  2. Theory of Political Power in Machiavelli's Book
  3. State sovereignty, autonomous and non-religious
  4. Ways princes should keep faith
  5. Politics and Religion
  6. Conclusion

Niccolo Machiavelli, born in Italy on May 3, 1469 was a known political philosopher and diplomat during the Renaissance, and famous for his political treaties, The Prince (1513), which has become the cornerstone of the modern political philosophy. Niccolo provided an opinion on how a ruler should rule through his writing that describes the necessary attributes needed by an Italian prince. His writing is about power, how to use it, keep it and how a state should be ruled. The philosophies of Niccolo have been used by many rulers, both good and evil ones from United States president Washington and Madison to Hitler and Mussolini. All philosophers and thinkers, from Greek philosophy to Renaissance, dealt with the end of a state, with their thoughts that political power of a state can be used as a means of achieving further end.

All political thinkers had concerned with the central question of the end of a state, and they considered state power as a means to higher end conceived in moral terms. However, Niccolo adopted a different line. According to his thinking, power of a state is the end of a state that is, every state must aim at maximizing its powers. Failure of a state in this enterprise will throw it into greater turmoil. Consequently, Niccolo confined his attention to the best means suited for the acquisition, retention and expansion of power.

[...] The imitation of the fox will enable him to viea his goal and the various ways to achieve the goals. Likewise, the imitation of a lion will provide the prince with the necessary strengths and force of achieving the goals. The rationale is that a fox might have the foresight and shrewdness, but it becomes powerless without the force of a lion. Similarly, a lion does not have the shrewdness of a fox thus would make it reckless. It means, therefore, that a ruler who wants to be successful must combine the qualities of a fox and the lion. [...]


[...] Theory of Political Power in Machiavelli's Book State becomes the highest form of human association and it is indispensable for promoting human welfare. Machiavelli's theory suggests that the state should be worshiped even if it means sacrificing individuals for the interest of the state. He also theorizes that a ruler must know that success is due to power, and he can use any means to acquire political power. This shows that the major theme Prince' is the process of acquiring power. [...]


[...] A ruler is the creator of law and morality hence he is above them. The primary duty of a ruler is preserving the state, and thus he may use the instruments of lie, conspiracy, and even killing since absolute morality is neither possible not desirable for politics. According to Machiavelli, rational analysis must begin with analyzing the human nature. He viewed activities of man with special interests. He generally assumed all men to be bad, and viewed men as a compound of weakness, ungrateful and lust for power. [...]

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