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Machiavelli's The Prince

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"The state is the highest achievement of man, a progressive and elaborate creation of his free will. The individual, the leader, the people, cooperate in maintaining it." This idea of state was put forth by Niccolo Machiavelli in The Prince, which was in essence a ruler's handbook to governing and maintaining his land. Machiavelli conjured his theories for government by basing his ideas in his belief that men, especially men in power, tend to follow the same directions, and therefore by looking at past leaders and their follies we can better determine how to run a state. "Men are always the same and are animated by the same passions that lead them fatally to the same decisions, acts, an resultsÐ'.... That one can foresee the course of political development by mediating upon the cycles and phases of historical events, and that essential to a statesman is not only the experience of modern events and constant study of the past. But also the ability to exploit this knowledge in actual political actions."

One of the ways a Prince or ruler is to exploit this knowledge is to understand that one of the most important things a ruler must be focused on is war. In order for a nation, empire, or state to remain and continue in its strength its leader must build its foundation on military strength and know the Ð''art of war'. "Military power is the foundation and strength of the state. Persuasion alone is not enough for men are bad and inconstant." "A prince therefore must have no other object or thought nor acquire skill in anything, except war, its organization, and its discipline. The art of war is all that is expected of a ruler; and it is so useful that besides enabling hereditary princes to maintain their rule it frequently enables ordinary citizens to become rulersÐ'...The first way to lose your state is to neglect the art of war; the first way to win a state is to be skilled in the art of war." Son in order for a ruler or leader to maintain a stable country, he must have a strong military to back him, and know how to use those forces to strengthen his country. Even in the last century, long after Machiavelli, this idea held constant in picking a leader, most often great leaders were war heroes and commanders of great armies. Not only in other countries, but also in this country even in the very beginning of our new government; our first leader was General George Washington a leader in the revolutionary war, then others such as Commander Ulysses S. Grant another war veteran. That was the case even up to the early and mid-twentieth with commanders-in-chief such as Theodore Roosevelt, a cavalry commander and navy man, or even Dwight D. Eisenhower, a supreme commander of the Allied forces in World War II. These men, as Machiavelli described, knew the art of war first hand, but as the years passed and our nation become more industrious and powerful, the idea of having war as you're first and foremost area of knowledge and interest slowly drifted into the background. And while quite a few of former twentieth and twenty-first century presidents had served in the armed forces in some capacity, they were and continue to be far from Machiavelli's ideas of a solely war driven leader, in our country. Even though our leaders today are not necessarily war-driven men, they do still hold to the fact that military strength and power are important. This is shown in many different areas, first men and women are being constantly trained and recruited to our armed forces; whether it be army, navy, marines or some other division, these people make-up the strong military that backs our president and country. Not only is our military strength in our armed forces, but in our knowledge as well. Many mathematicians and scientists around the country work everyday on developing new weapons, and putting them to work for our military.

Machiavelli not only outlines the importance of military readiness, but also the very characteristics a prince needs in order to maintain his position. He says that while it is nice for a prince to be considered generous, compassionate, flexible, honorable, and loved; those attributes and attitudes will not make him someone to be reckoned with. Those ideas in fact might bring his destruction,



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