Machiavelli and republic


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Is Machiavelli for or against the republic? In this Essay, I will argue that Machiavelli is against the republic in The Prince. Machiavelli wrote this book for Lorenzo de' Medici who ruled Florentine Republic. When Machiavelli wrote The Prince the ideas in it were considered evil however, Machiavelli was just ahead of his time. Although it was often hard to distinguish which side Machiavelli is arguing but a critical analysis of The Prince will prove that Machiavelli is against the republic.

In Chapter three Machiavelli talks about not being able to maintain the support of the people who put the prince in power[1]. Those people will start a revolt and in order to prevent future revolts the prince must punish the rebels harshly and destroying his opposition[2]. Machiavelli also mentions that those princes that acquire states and want to stay in power must eliminate the ancient royal bloodline and avoid changing the laws and taxes of the state acquired[3]. Machiavelli also advises the prince who has occupied a state in a foreign country should dominate the neighbouring states. The prince should weaken the strong states and ensure no other foreign power invades a neighbouring state[4]. Machiavelli is trying to show a bigger picture here that a prince must have control of the whole country in order to keep control of the state he has conquered. These are all prime examples proving that Machiavelli is against the republic. By punishing the rebels harshly and destroying his opposition the prince is ensuring he can have absolute authority with hardly anyone to stand up against his wrong doings. I believe that when an outside prince succeeds in conquering a prince's hereditary state, any setbacks the outside prince encounters will allow the prince to reconquer his state. Therefore, Machiavelli is suggesting when the outside prince kills off everyone from the ancient royal bloodline the outside prince can ensure no one will want to replace him in turn giving the outside prince total authority in the republic. Machiavelli talks about the prince controlling the whole country in order to ensure he controls his conquered state. By making his neighbours weaker than him, the prince is ensuring no interference from them such as a war or a message of hope against the authoritative prince. Therefore, Machiavelli is against the republic because these are all actions that ensure the prince his absolute power in the state without any internal or external interference.

In chapter five Machiavelli talks about ways to hold states that have been accustomed to living freely under their own laws[5]. The first way is to devastate them. The second is to conquer and live in them. The third is to allow the state to maintain its own laws, but to impose taxes and establish an oligarchy to keep the state friendly. The oligarchy according to Machiavelli will work hard because the only reason they exist is due to the prince being in power[6]. Machiavelli states that a complete destruction of the state is the most certain way of ruling a state that has been free in the past. In republics or at least what use to be republics feelings of hatred and revenge against the conquering prince will run strong. Therefore, the prince will be better off destroying the republic or living in the conquered state[7]. This chapter is the most obvious chapter in which Machiavelli clearly proves that he is against the republic. His argument that devastating a region is often the most reliable way of securing power does not even attempt to address the moral or ethical disapproval to his advice. However, he must know of the consequences of his advice and the fact he still is giving his advice to the prince clearly make it clear that he is against the republic. The third advice in which he talks about setting up an oligarchy is still not democratic. Oligarchy will be a small group of people handpicked by the prince whose only goal will be to satisfy the prince and ensure he stays in power. The fact that Machiavelli is suggesting unelected people chosen by an unelected prince to rule over people shows Machiavelli is against the republic. By suggesting destroying the state that was once free Machiavelli is reinforcing his belief that he is against republics.

By strategically placing chapter five between chapter four and six Machiavelli reinforces the notion that The Price is a guide book for a prince to rule the state. In chapter four Machiavelli talks about the two ways to govern principalities, through nobles or ministers. According to Machiavelli of both situations, the prince is regarded as being much stronger if he uses ministers, since he is the only ruler in the country[8]. I think in a state ruled by nobles, it is not enough to kill the former ruler's family, because nobles will still be around. Therefore, since Machiavelli is against the republic he is suggesting holding on to the state is much easier, because it only requires killing off the one prince and his family. In this case the power is more centralized with the prince controlling the state and the minister satisfying his every wish. In chapter six Machiavelli states, relying on one's personal powers is a difficult way of acquiring a state. However, a state that is acquired by a ruler's natural talent will prove easier to look after. Machiavelli goes on to say rulers who rely on powers instead of fortune are generally more successful in holding power over states because they can meet the challenges of establishing a new order[9]. I think what Machiavelli means by new order is a non republican state such as authoritarian in which the prince has absolute power even if that means the disapproval of the people. Chapter four, five and six are a step by step guide for a prince. Chapter four talks about the two ways a prince can govern through either nobles or ministers. Chapter five talks about ways to take over a state while chapter six talks about how to succeed once a prince has taken over a state.

Machiavelli has made it clear in The Prince that he is against the republic. In chapter three Machiavelli suggest the prince should punish the rebels harshly and destroy his opposition the prince is ensuring he can have absolute authority with hardly anyone to stand up against his wrong doings. In chapter five Machiavelli states that a complete destruction of the state is the most certain way of ruling a state that has been free in the past. B y placing chapter four, five and six in their particular position Machiavelli gives a prince a guide book on how to take over and succeed in a state that is non-republic.

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