Prince Of Machiavelli


     "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 Machiavelliís, 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. Machiavelliís perspective of human nature is founded on
the principle that people in general donít 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 control over oneís life is a quality that
once molded is nearly impossible to reshape. Machiavelli asserts this idea when
he writes, "a city used to freedom can be more easily ruled through its own
citizens...than in any other way." The same tendency lies in the control that
the prince gains over the people in the principality. Once the prince has
control he finds that giving up control to be extremely difficult. That is why
ideally a prince would posses a number of qualities to find success as a leader.

Only through an understanding of the nature of his subjects, having an ability
to control his subjects, and possessing the means to defend his subjects can"the prince" truly find the universal key to open the door to upholding the
ideals of practical leadership. When a prince understands the nature of the
people it is easier for him to enter the land. Machiavelli writes of the Romans
and how they developed their empire, "the Aetolians once brought the Romans
into Greece; and in every other country they invaded, the Romans were brought in
by the inhabitants." Because the Romans understood human nature their movement
into power was unchallenged. Once in power it is essential for the prince to be
able to control the people. "I say that a prince must want to have a
reputation for compassion rather than cruelty: none the less, he must be careful
that he does not make bad use of compassion." When Machiavelli wrote this he
was outlining the key to controlling the people. The prince needs to be able to
keep the people united, and loyal to him and at the same time ensure respect for
the laws by instilling a fear for punishment. One of Machiavelliís most used
examples of a successful prince is Cesare Borgia. It is essential to be feared
not hated and in the case of Borgia his minister Remirro de Orco punished law
breakers in a cruel fashion that led to people hating Borgia. To create a
feeling of fear for punishment rather than hatred for the prince Borgia decided
to punish his minister for all to see. "One morning, Remirroís body was
found cut in two pieces on the piazza at Cesena, with a block of wood and a
bloody knife beside it. The brutality of this specticle kept the people of the

Romagna at once appeased." Finally, once control has been established the
prince is now obligated to defend the people. This only comes through a strong
military. Machiavelli believes that the military is essential to help create
friends for the prince, form trust from the people, and avoid attempts from
foreign lands to invade his principality or citizens to overthrow his
government. Machiavelli writes that, "a prince should assume personal command
and captain his troops himself. Experience is shown that only princes...achieve
solid success." Though these keys were expressed by Machiavelli over 450 years
ago they are most definitly applicable today, and in the future. In examining
the 20th century two leaders have seemingly emulated the ideas of Machiavelli,

Adolf Hitler and Mao Tse-Tsung. Hitler understood the nature of the German
people, which allowed him to eventually rise to power, by one vote. By
exploiding the vulnerability of his comrads in the post-World War 1 era he
appealed to their needs. Once in power he used the minority as an example that
he should be feared which at the same time allowed him to gain the trust of the
majority. Hitler stands alone in history as being an individual that was able to
justify horrid acts in the minds of his people. The same people that formed an
army and nearly succeeded in conquering the European continent. Hitler possessed
the three keys of understanding, controlling, and defending, and as hard as it
is to say he was a successful leader in the 20th century. A leader who didnít
use intimidation to gain power rather manipulation to develop control and
support was Mao the first communist dictator of China. Through his "little red
book" Mao used positive reenforcement to oil the gears of one of the worlds
strongest super powers. Mao didnít try to use force and change the culture in

China rather he persuaded the people into having great national pride. This
pride enabled Mao to control the people also build a strong military and defend
his land. In China Mao did and still today, decades after his death, have a hand
in every aspect of Chinese life. Both of these leaders project how timeless

Machiavelliís ideas truly are. The first rung of the ladder to a successful
principality is the understanding of human nature. A nature that values
consistency over forced change and an atmosphere of control over oneís self
instead of someone blatently controlling another. Through this understanding of
human nature can a prince hold his power. Once he holds this power the best way
to keep it is by providing defense for the people whom he has power over. These
ideas were present in the infamous reigns of Hitler and Mao. Machiavelli is
correct there are either principalities or republics, and I have come to the
conclusion I prefer the latter.