Machiavelli Political Power

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The topic of royal or political authority has long seemed the enemy of civil conversation, giving rise to fierce debate between individuals between whom before might have been peace and amity. While conflict between individuals over their political beliefs is often resolved through recognition of differences of their respective personalities in shaping their personal opinions, the social, economic, and political contexts of both parties are oftentimes less recognized as contributing to the formation of these differences, instead being regarded as belonging to the realm of analysis by pundits and other intellectually interested parties. This view, however, only cements the inevitability of future conflict. Instead of being solely the ideological…show more content…
The specific question Machiavelli raises is thus: “whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved” (Blackboard p. 1). The conclusion to which Machiavelli arrives is one best understood through examination of his own personal experience and sociopolitical context, as the statesman concludes that, “it is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with” (Blackboard p. 1), and further goes on a diatribe against mankind, calling them, “ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous” (Blackboard p. 1). Machiavelli’s language here reflects an opinion formed in the politically unstable context of his contemporary Italian city-states, in which a prince’s best protection against the machinations of others was their fearing him. Machiavelli’s statement regarding the nature of man is significant to his political ideology, as the author later goes on not only to undermine the security of friendships secured by financial reward, but also to regard those secured by love itself, saying that, “love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which
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