Popular Themes in the Prince

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Machiavelli’s The Prince was one of the first works of humanism of the Renaissance. Even until this day this book remains one of the most controversial pieces of literature. Machiavelli takes the time to write out what an ideal Prince should be and styles it as a how-to guide for Leadership. Throughout the book we can gather ideas of Machiavelli’s thought process through several different themes. One theme that we can see in The Prince is a sense of History. As a scholar himself, Machiavelli specifically writes “a prince should read history and reflect on the actions of great men.” He refers to this as an exercise for the mind. Machiavelli makes an argument that in order to be successful, one must study the leaders of it’s past. You must study the successes but mainly the failures of the leaders to know what not to do. A famous quote in the book is “the presence of sound military forces indicates the presence of sound laws.” With this a relationship is built between the development of states and war. The tone that Machiavelli sets is that war is a necessary element of the development of states and a successful war is how states are built. This theme of statesmanship and warfare is the underlying idea of what The Prince is all about. Throughout the entire book he explains how to fortify cities, how to treat the people of newly acquired territories and how to prevent being overthrown. It makes sense as much of Italy’s cities were threatened by neighboring principalities. His throughout process was that of a war strategist for good reason. Machiavelli touches on whether it is better to be loved or feared which is a popular discussion even in leadership today. His thought is that in order for a prince to remain in power, he must avoid the hatred of his people. It is not necessary for him to be loved but it is better for him to be feared. With that said, a price
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