Essay: Machiavelli

Machiavelli begins his book by presenting his dedication with a letter to ‘the Magnificent Lorenzo Di Piero De’ Medici’, the ruler of the Florence. In this dedication, Machiavelli points out that ‘ wanting to present myself to your Magnificence with some testimony of my devotion towards you, the possession of mine that I love best and values most is my knowledge of the actions of great men ‘knowledge that I have acquired from a continual study of antiquity’ (Bennett, 2010). He shortly explain his intention which are the actions of great men and the principles of princely government. He also does this with expectation of satisfactory and informing the Medici family about his knowledge. He offers this book as a gift to the ruler and his family. The Prince is unique, not because it explains how to take control of other lands and how to control them, but because it gives advice that often disregards all moral and ethical rules.
Machiavelli generally discusses the different types of the principalities or states, and how to remain them. He then classify the various kinds of states: republics, hereditary princedoms, brand-new princedoms, and mixed principalities.
In the first chapter, titled as ‘Different kinds of principalities, and how to acquire them’, Machiavelli tries to make a classification of principalities. Machiavelli describes the different kinds of states, debating that all states are either republics or principalities. Principalities can be divided as hereditary principalities and new principalities. New principalities are either completely new or new additions to existing states. By fortune or strength, a prince can acquire a new principality with his own army or with the arms of others.
The second chapter focuses on hereditary principates. Machiavelli notes that it is easier to govern a hereditary state than a new principality for two main reasons. First, those under the rule of such states are familiar with the prince’s family and are therefore familiar to their rule. The natural prince has to keep past institutions untouched while adapting these institutions. Second, the natural tendency of subjects in a hereditary state is to love the ruling family. In here Machiavelli argues a key point in terms of a people’s desire for change: ‘And in the antiquity and continuity of the government,’ he writes, ‘people forget not only the reasons for innovations but their very existence, because every new change provides a footing to build on another.’ (Bennett, 2010).

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