Charles Harrison

AP European History


The Prince vs. The Discourses

  1. Why Machiavelli wrote each book
    1. The Prince
      1. It would get the Medici to notice him.
      2. To prove to the Medici that he was loyal to them.
      3. To prove that he was a man worth employing.
      4. Machiavelli was accused of taking part in a conspiracy against the Medici and was put in jail.
      5. Machiavelli dedicated the Prince to a Medici to win a pardon.
      6. He wanted to save Italy with his ideas.
      7. He wanted his thoughts to be seen by later generations.
    2. The Discourses
      1. To emphasize that for a republic to survive, it needs patriotism and civic virtue among its citizens.
      2. To ensure order internally and safety externally against enemies.
      3. To establish a blueprint for a strong republican government that will do what is right for the people.
      4. To cure his boredom.
      5. Wanted to pass on his ideas.
      6. He wanted to clarify and edit his points from The Prince.
      7. To establish the differences between republics and principalities.
  2. Machiavelliís views on the nature of politics
    1. All things in a republic must be done for the good of the republic or a greedy person leading the republic.
    2. The republic will always eventually fail.
    3. For a republic to work there must be compromises between leadership and citizens.
    4. It is better to be feared than loved, but best to be both.
    5. The first ruler in a hereditary kingdom will always be more revered than his followers.
    6. Politics will all follow similar trends.
  3. Machiavelliís views on the nature of man (Is man [Humanity] good or bad? Does Machiavelli actively judge, or does he simply describe?)
    1. Impossible for a man to be all good or all bad, because a manís actions are a combination of both.
    2. Machiavelli tries to simply describe, but unknowingly judges.
    3. Man is usually trying to improve.
    4. Man will usually believe in a higher being.
    5. Man will do whatís best for himself unless he truly loves his ruler, in which case he will do whatís best for his ruler.
    6. If man is upset with his ruler, he will oppose him.
    7. Man will fight if he truly believes in the cause.
  4. Machiavelliís views on proper arrangement of society
    1. Machiavelli believes that a republican arrangement is the best.
      1. The people are represented in the government.
      2. The government will help those that help it.
      3. There should still be separate castes of people (i.e. soldiers are different from peasants and nobles are higher than soldiers are).
      4. There must be a military made up of the republicís people. Mercenaries can not be used.
      5. Societiesí arrangements should vary to fit the society.
  5. What Machiavelli thinks of organized religion, its relation to politics, and the general role of society
    1. It is necessary
    2. It keeps the people in order.
    3. People will always be under its power.
    4. It will always be there for the people, so they can always follow it even if something happens to the republic.
    5. It brings the people together for a common purpose.
    6. You canít take religion from people.
    7. Religion is something that you must let people keep after you conquer them.
  6. Machiavelliís views on morality and ethics in general
    1. On occasion cruelty is necessary to bring people to order, or to control them.
    2. Cruelty can not be used to excess.
    3. Lead by example.
    4. If you threaten, you must follow through with the threat.
    5. The morals of the church should be followed.
  7. What type of government, principality or republic, does Machiavelli prefer? Why?
    1. Republic
      1. It is hard to overthrow.
      2. Provided a job for Machiavelli as a civil servant, while the principality threw him in prison and took his job.
      3. Principalities thought he was a traitor while republics thought he was a great thinker.
      4. He loved the republic of Florence.
      5. It is fair to more people than monarchies.
      6. There is less internal fighting in republics.
      7. There is less fighting in republics altogether.
      8. The people are represented in republics.
      9. The people are treated better in republics.