Niccolo Machiavelli was a creator of political theories in the 1500’s. He served the Republic as a diplomatic negotiator and as a military supervisor. When Florence went back to a monarch system, the Medici family return to power and exiled Machiavelli for his past criticisms that he made towards the family. Machiavelli then wrote “The Prince” to complement the Medici family and as a way to regain their approval. A good leader is a person who after leaving his/her country leaves his/her people content, the economy stable and is able to maintain their integrity. Machiavelli’s views of war being the most import aspect that a leader must think of, it is okay for a leader to be untruthful and it is better to be feared over loved would not be successful in the 20th century. Machiavelli’s ideology of a good leader would not work in today’s standards since his ideas our too extreme for our times.
If a leader only pays attention to war, he only supplies safety for his people and neglects the other aspects that are crucial for governing. Focusing on the idea of war, can cause tension that may provoke a war. This feeling that results affects countries immensely as it tends to leave countries in a state of devastation. Adolf Hitler is an example of a leader who caused a war. By putting Germany at war and losing the battle against the Allies, Hitler set his country back many years, causing them to rebuild their society and economy. To further show that war is not the most important factor of governing, is during George Bush Senior’s term as a president of the United States.
Two major events occurred that affected the American people tremendously. First, the Gulf war; Bush was able to resolve this situation in a short period of time and the American people commended him for it. The second event was the American recession of the 1990s. This fall came late in Bush’s term as president. When Bush was up for re-election, he lost to Clinton. Although he had won the war, Bush was not re-elected because he had allowed the economy to fall. With these examples, it is evident that war is not the most vital aspect to governing. A good leader must use all means to resolving a dispute, before relying upon war. One Machiavelli idea that a leader should follow is, there are two methods to fighting, one by law and the other by force.
A leader’s integrity shows to the people that their leader is not afraid to tell the truth. To have integrity means that one no matter what, one stays true to their word under any circumstances. Machiavelli’s thought of a leader being untruthful would not work today because if a leader was found lying, it would be printed on the presses the next day. With the media following so close to every word a politician says, it would be demeaning for a leader to have his people find out that he is a hypocrite. So Machiavelli’s idea of being strong, unchangeable and positive would be some ideal qualities of a good leader. Maintaining a strong and positive image of oneself is what enables one to be a good leader.
To be feared over loved may have worked in the past but not in the present. In a democracy being loved is what enables one to maintain their status as a leader. If a leader is more feared then loved, it creates a greater desire from the people to defy or overthrow the government. A leader that was loved by a majority of his people was Bill Clinton. He was loved because he was able to maintain a stable economy, keep peace and gave many benefits to his people. By doing so he served another term as president.
Clinton did not have to strike fear into his people in order for him remain in power. Machiavelli’s theology of being feared over loved may be true, but it is inhumane and immoral for a leader to use death as way to instil fear into his people in order to stop the people from being rebellious. If a country’s people revolt against their leader, it is a sign for the leader that his people no longer believe in his governing of their country. If one has the qualities of a good leader and leads his people well then one does not have to resort to fear as a way of governing.
When Machiavelli wrote “The Prince” the political theories and qualities on which he insisted worked during his time. For relevance to the 20th century, it does not apply as many of his views are outdated. During the 1900s, we now focus more on economy and not on war. We only use war as a means of settling disputes, not to gain land or money like they did in the past. The use of lies as a way to control ones people is unfamiliar to our times. To use fear as a way of governing and to use the tactics that Machiavelli suggested to inflict fear would not function, as his suggestions infringe on human rights, which are now so closely monitored. The majority of Machiavelli’s theories of the perfect prince would not be successful for a leader of today, for his ideas are too radical.
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