Machiavelli: The Realist Essay

Political pragmatism did non go a popular construct until it was discussed by Niccolo Machiavelli.

doing him one of the most influential philosophers. Harmonizing to another philosopher. Francis Bacon. Machiavelli was “the laminitis of a new. nonsubjective scientific discipline of political relations.

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concerned non with what should be. but with what is. non with hopes and frights. but with practical realities” ( Wootton XXXVII ) .

Machiavelli’s enchiridion for princes. titled The Prince. takes the universe as it is and gives advice through the treatment of existent universe illustrations. Max Lerner.

the asleep American journalist. one time stated. “May I venture a conjecture as to the ground why we still shudder somewhat at Machiavelli’s name…It is our acknowledgment that the worlds he describes are worlds ; that work forces. whether in political relations. in concern. or in private life. make non move harmonizing to their professions of virtuousness.

” When people read Machiavelli’s text they are astounded by some of his comments. However. he persistently uses illustrations to formalize that what he is stating.

Although people may non desire to accept his remarks. he is simply making observations. Throughout his enchiridion. it is made apparent that Machiavelli is so a realist. Throughout his enchiridion.

Machiavelli makes it apparent that he is so a realist through his scrutiny of why a committedness to unity and virtuousness is non possible for successful leading. but misrepresentation. inhuman treatment. and war are indispensable.The indispensable perceptual experience of describing what really occurs is expressed by Machiavelli.

In explicating his intent for composing The Prince. he states. “But my hope is to compose a book that will be utile. at least to those who read it intelligently. and so I thought it reasonable to travel directly to a treatment of how things are in existent life and non godforsaken clip with a treatment of an fanciful world” ( Machiavelli 48 ) .

Unlike most other philosophers. Machiavelli does non believe in making a Utopia. He prefers to province the truth and do decisions based on existent events. which is precisely what he does throughout the text.Harmonizing to Machiavelli:Many writers have constructed fanciful democracies and princedoms that have ne’er existed in pattern and ne’er could ; for the spread between how people really behave and how they ought to act is so great that anyone who ignores mundane world in order to populate up to an ideal will shortly detect he has been taught how to destruct himself. non how to continue himself.

( Machiavelli 48 ) Machiavelli uses illustrations from the present clip every bit good as the yesteryear to exemplify his advice for the princes. For illustration. Machiavelli refers to a modern-day Italian prince. whom he feels is a theoretical account of the ideal prince. on several occasions. His name is Cesare Borgia. the boy of Pope Alexander VI.


One clip Machiavelli refers to him is when discoursing persons who get princedoms through luck. Alternatively of making a conjectural state of affairs in which a individual receives princedoms through fortune and doing up possible results. Machiavelli straight cites Borgia who received land from his male parent. He asserts. “Cesare Borgia. who was called Duke Valentino by the common people.

acquired his province thanks to the good luck of his male parent. and when that came to an terminal he lost it” ( Machiavelli 22 ) . By utilizing existent happenings. Machiavelli’s advice becomes more convincing. The people know that he is establishing his counsel on events which have really taken topographic point. and therefore they accept more of what he has to state.Machiavelli’s unfavorable judgment of human nature is ill-famed for the obvious ground that he bashes worlds.

The words he uses to depict worlds all have a negative intension. While they may look improbably rough. he is merely saying the truth.

Machiavelli explains. “For of work forces one can. in general. state this: They are thankless. fickle. delusory and lead oning. avoiders of danger. tidal bore to gain” ( Machiavelli 52 ) .

While some may reason that they do non possess these negative features. Machiavelli disagrees reasoning that while they may non demo them. they are capable of them.He continues on to depict worlds as being self-preserved.

“As long as you serve their involvements. they are devoted to you. They promise you their blood.

their ownerships. their lives. and their kids. as I said earlier. so long as you seem to hold no demand of them.

But every bit shortly as you need assist. they turn against you” ( Machiavelli 52 ) . Peoples are willing to give up all that they have. but when the clip comes to really give their properties off. they run off.

This premise that worlds are being of remorseless self-interest follows with political pragmatism.Machiavelli furthers his negative comments about human existences when he discusses virtuousness. Based on Machiavelli’s usage of the word virtuousness. he seems to be mentioning to qualities that would gain congratulations.

He states several applaudable features that most worlds would believe are good to possess. Machiavelli continues indicating out: Now I know everyone will hold that if a swayer could hold all the good qualities I have listed and none of the bad 1s. so this would be an first-class province of personal businesss. But one can non hold all the good qualities.

nor ever move in a applaudable manner. for we do non populate in an ideal universe. ( Machiavelli 48 ) While his point is intended for princes. it can be applied to worlds as good.His earlier instance about worlds being self-involved and fickle can use here every bit good. He acknowledges that it would be better for society if everyone acted morally.

but it is non an ideal universe. Therefore. since non everyone can possess merely good qualities. he turns to a blazing world that people must be lead oning. They need to feign to hold positive features in order to gull those who oppose them. He believes the good traits are more advantageous if a individual simply seems to possess them. A individual should look to be compassionate.

trustworthy. sympathetic. honest. and spiritual alternatively of really being those things.

Machiavelli makes clear that virtuousness is non possible for a prince to be successful. He emphasizes the demand for misrepresentation. and so moves on to discourse inhuman treatment. Machiavelli explains that while it is good to be loved by your people. it is better to be feared. This is because work forces who love you will stay loyal until they fear their involvements are at interest and run off.

If the work forces are afraid of you. so they will non be able to run off because their fright will keep them. Machiavelli provinces. “…for it is impossible to maintain an ground forces united and ready for action without geting a repute for cruelty” ( Machiavelli 52 ) .

If a prince wants control and order. so he needs to be feared. Harmonizing to Machiavelli. inhuman treatment is the manner to accomplish this end and is indispensable if a prince wishes to keep his power.The 3rd necessity for a prince to stay a leader is to be powerful during war. Machiavelli. who clearly believes it is of import to mention to the yesteryear as a usher. advises swayers to read history books and analyze the actions of work forces who succeeded.

He declares. “ [ A swayer ] should see how they conducted themselves when at war. survey why they won some conflicts and lost others. so he will cognize what to copy and what to avoid” ( Machiavelli 47 ) . By larning about past leaders. a prince can copy the actions of historical figures who are admirable in order to do himself better.Machiavelli’s accent on war may come from the fact that. during this clip.

Italy is in pieces. and he wishes for it to be united. He encourages swayers to “only believe of military matters” and provinces that “in clip of peace he should be even more occupied with them than in clip of war” ( Machiavelli 46 ) . A prince should invariably be a measure in front of his enemies. and. hence. demands to persistently concentrate on how he can be better prepared for war.

By holding a good ground forces and a set program. a swayer is able to keep his power.Although many people criticize Machiavelli for his hideous political pragmatism. he was discoursing the truth about world. Some people may see it as harsh.

but sometimes the truth hurts. Machiavelli provinces. “So it is necessary for a swayer. if he wants to keep on to power. to larn how non to be good.

and to cognize when it is and when it is non necessary to utilize this knowledge” ( Machiavelli 48 ) . He explains in deepness why honestness and virtuousness are non factors in finding a prince’s success. Alternatively. a prince needs to be lead oning. cruel. and a powerful military swayer in order to maintain his power.

Plants CitedMachiavelli. Niccolo . The Prince. Trans. David Wootton. Capital of indiana: Hackett. 1995.

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