The Prince1

“All the states, all the dominions, under whose authority men have lived in the past and live now have been and are either republics or principalities.” In Machiavelli’s, The Prince, timeless keys to a successful principality are examined. The keys are understanding human nature, respecting that nature, and reaffirming that successful leadership can exist in the same fashion yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Machiavelli’s perspective of human nature is founded on the principle that people in general don’t want their culture changed by an outside influence. Machiavelli demonstrates in the book that the nature of people is to defend who they are. When “the prince” attempts to change their culture in any way the subjects will do any number of things to crush this attempt or even change the leadership. If a prince uses force to try to change people this will lead to hostility, because as Machiavellis says, “they remain, defeated, in their own homes.” This underlying fact will lead to a rebellion of some sort. One way this rebellion can happen is when a powerful foreigner invades the principality. The now “defeated” people will join this powerful foreigner, in hopes that their culture will now be respected, to dethrone the prince. When the prince tries to use force to control the people it only creates enemies. Machiavelli explains this aspect of human nature when he writes, “he harms the whole state by billeting his army in different parts of the country, everyone suffers from this annoyance, and everybody is turned into an enemy.” On the contrast if a prince allows the people to keep their customs Machiavelli states that the people will remain content when he writes, “For the rest, so long as their old ways of life are undisturbed and there is no divergence in customs, men live quietly.” Another natural tendency of people comes with freedom. Once they have had a taste of freedom, they virtually cannot live without it. This feeling of contr…

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