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Machiavelli And The Art Of War

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Niccolo Machiavelli's views on military have been misinterpreted since his work on The Prince was first written, readers take his thought of how a country should be ruled the wrong way, and are offended and displeased by his views. They think that he believes that the end justifies the means, that a leader should lie to the people, and that a ruler has to rule with force and punishment. In actuality, Machiavelli means no such thing, he describes that there are times and certain situations when the good human nature of a leader can outweigh the means and the morality of a ruler's actions. He talks about military use and its importance into having a successful Prince and a country feared by others.The Prince is considered to be one of the most important of nonfiction literature written in the history of mankind. It gave an accurate and truthful description of the method of governing.

Throughout a prince's leadership if he does not have complete control over the people and the government an outbreak can occur. This is because it has proven to be dangerous when people in your country start to have their own thoughts and ideas about how they want to be governed. Machiavelli understands this and how important it really if to keep control at all times. In Europe around the 14th century, the church was entangled in politics, and everything else. People were competing for control, and at the time Lorenzo de’ Medici was struggling to keep the country out of an outbreak after the return of power for the Medici family after being thrown out of power for a little while. After some conspiracy theories surrounding the medici's loss of power, Niccolo Machiavelli was exiled from Florence by Lorenzo . Around this time many ideas were floating around Italy about how they should be governed and some feared and pressure for Lorenzo de’ Medici to do good. Although Medici did well as a ruler he was missing one factor that would almost get himself killed. Bernardo Bandini de Baroncelli and Francesco de' Pazzi stabbed Medici's brother to death and almost killed Lorenzo but failed as he escaped with wounds. This created more controversy with how Lorenzo de’ Medici continued to rule. After being exiled from Florence Machiavelli, in an attempt to be allowed back into Florence, write his most famous piece of work The Prince, where he explains his theories for becoming a successful prince and presents it to Medici. This does not work as Machiavelli is still exiled from Florence but the context of the prince shocked most of the readers and will forever be one of the most controversial pieces of work in Italian literature. In the Prince By Niccolo Machiavelli, he suggests a secular state, which would allow the leader to do that which is necessary for the country and his continued reign, though not necessarily moral. The ends do not justify the means, yet sometimes if the end is necessary for the continuation of a society, then the means do not have to be morally bound.

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Machiavelli understands the importance of a military force, and how important it is that a country is kept in order, even if that means lying to the people to get them to fight against a common foe. Even though this may seem a little cruel it is important to understand that Machiavelli believes that if this is not done that it is possible to have people start to rebel against you. A ruler cannot please everybody all the time, so, therefore he has to be cunning to maintain control. “ Dominion, he writes, is acquired by arms, either one’s own or those of others.” (Web source) . This quote highlights the facts of weapon use in Machiavelli's ideal government and how he feels about how control needs to be acquired by weapons because weapons play a big part of the fear factor that makes a Prince seem Powerful. “Good arms (and good friends) will protect the prince against internal and external dangers, but soldiers pose a constant threat in the form of conspiracies.” (Web source). One of Machiavelli's key concepts to being a successful prince is not having anyone cause a threat around you because that is when that person can create a rivalry and that can be really bad for the country if people begin to turn on you. This is why Machiavelli stresses having a powerful team around you and a good military to protect you from any threats before they get serious.

By tying the church to the government, people expect the government to behave morally, but oftentimes, an entirely moral ruler will be overthrown by another country. A ruler cannot show any weakness, or else he will no longer be feared enough to keep him in power, and his reign will be over. People are unlikely to overthrow a ruler that they fear because they fear the punishments for failure by the military. In The Prince, Machiavelli asserts a certain character, who Machevelli appears to have a lot of love for Cesare Borgia. Machiavelli talked about how important it is to make it seem like as a prince you are always listening to the people you govern so they feel like they are a factor in the laws and rules that will be placed on them, but at the same time, you use military to scare people into never going too crazy with ideas and so people do not try and riot or create havoc. Machiavelli also says that in order to create a “overpower” look for a prince, you need to have a strong military that other countries fear. Machiavelli says “he was able to sustain armies with money from the church people, and with that long war to lay a foundation for his own military, which later brought him honor” talking about the current king of Spain, Ferdinand of Aragon and how his use of military as a force to be reckoned with created trust with his people and generated an extreme about of respect about what the king was doing. The people admired the king after his actions to build up an army and to defend and to take other countries.

Overall Machiavelli's use of military has created controversy but has proven to work. Machiavelli's art of war has changed the way people think about how a prince should act by allowing the reader to relate to how leaders today act vs how they used to act and how Machiavelli's “Ideal Prince” should act. His use of having military as a fear factor and having military as a way to gain respect and trust with the people in your country gave Italy a new way to think of their leaders. The techniques and theories that Machiavelli provided in The Prince will continue to show readers today how smart he really was.

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Machiavelli And The Art Of War. (2021, September 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 5, 2024, from
“Machiavelli And The Art Of War.” Edubirdie, 29 Sept. 2021,
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Machiavelli And The Art Of War [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Sept 29 [cited 2024 Mar 5]. Available from:
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