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Tough Love Essay

“If you have to make a choice, to be feared is much safer than to be loved” (46). Niccolò Machiavelli declared this in The Prince while explaining how to be an extraordinary leader. If leaders are feared they will be respected by their people and other countries, thus keeping justice and maintaining control.

If a leader is feared, they will receive respect from their people and other countries. People will not turn against the leader, but if the people love him they would willingly take advantage of him. Likewise, if a country is in fear of a certain leader or country they would never think of turning against or taking advantage of them. As Niccolò Machiavelli stated in The Prince, “People are less concerned with offending a man who makes himself loved than one who makes himself feared; the reason Is that love is a link of obligation which men, because they are rotten, will break any time they think doing so serves their advantage; but fear involves dread of punishment, form which they can never escape” (46).

Feared leaders can preserve justice in their country. Machiavelli declared, “…Hannibal… having an immense army, which included men of many different races and nations, and which he led to battle in distant countries, he never allowed them to fight among themselves or to rise against him, whether his fortune was good or bad. The reason for this could only be his inhuman cruelty, which, along with his countless other talents… without the cruelty, his other qualities would never have sufficed” (46-47). This leader used forms of cruelty to instill a feeling of fear in his people. His people lived in apprehension of all injustice to avoid penalty many times defined as death. People will be less likely to act out against or try to over throw their leader if they are afraid of him.

Above all, one will be able to effectively maintain control over his people and various other countries. The people will follow their leader in whatever situation takes place. However, if the people loved their leader, they would not feel guilt or remorse in disobeying their leader; therefore he does not have a complete control over his people. This could result in chaos. Armies who fear their leader will do what the leader feels is necessary or called for, in order to avoid crossing him. Similarly to what is said of his people, other countries would not attack or try to overthrow the leader. Countries would rather ally with a feared country or leader, because of this weaker countries that ally with the leader could than fall under control of the leader.

Once a country, its people, and other countries fear a leader, he will have complete power over them and they would give themselves to him to avoid punishment. When the leader has control he will easily be able to uphold righteousness and justice. When one fears an authority figure it is because they know that if they happen to do wrong that authority figure will not think twice before putting us in our place or chastising us.

Works Cited

Machiavelli, Niccolò. The Prince. Trans. Robert M. Adams. New York: Norton, 1992.


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