Cruel And Dictatorial Leadership In Machiavelli's The Prince

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Machiavelli’s The Prince (2012) is often misunderstood as a sort of “manual” for tyrants, mostly due to his infamous “better to be loved than feared or feared than loved” quote (p. 59). This oft-cited but tenuously understood quotation seems to have secured its place in history as the go-to phrase when discussing cruel and dictatorial leadership. The “feared/loved” quote, however, was not written to condone or promote tyranny. According to Machiavelli (2012), a leader always should “wish to be both,” while recognizing and accepting the fact that it is “difficult to unite [love and fear] in one person” (p. 59). Because of this, and, because of his obvious understanding of human nature, Machiavelli suggests that in the end it is safer to
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