Machiavelli's View Of Human Nature

Decent Essays

“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 …show more content…

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 Machiavelli’s 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


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