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Machiavelli- The Prince 24/11/10 2:33 PM
Lecture 1: Intro/ Dedicatory Letter
Faith in modernity implies faith in a direction, or a process
What does it mean to question modernity? (Modernity or faith)
Modernity forever radicalizes itself
The further down we go; better things will become
Modern view is thought to be the definitive
Semester 1: Modern Thinkers
Semester 2: Ancient Thinkers
In the 60’s modernity was authoritative, but does the authority remain unchallenged?
Communist rule in China
Liberal democracy routed communism
Now liberal modernity faces constant strain
No longer are we confident in our liberal modernity (modern global economy)
Mass media, internet contribute to the “allure” of the third world
Anti-western fanaticism, Marxism
Democracy vs. fascist thought
Reflections of modernity (e.g. Islamic Caliphate)
Jargonistic-we crave progress, as well as fear it
There are many doubts within modernity itself
HOW MANY ARE THE KINDS OF PRINCIPALITIES AND IN WHAT MODES THEY ARE ACQUIRED I
According to Machiavelli there are 2 types of states; Republics and Principalities. He proclaims that he will
only discuss principalities and not states, examining how they may be acquired and governed.
Principalities are either inherited and ling- established or new. So in they’ve either been annexed to a ruler
or are used to being free. Hereditary principalities, which are accustomed to being ruled by a prince are
easy to maintain, because tradition of the prince’s family makes his position stable among the people as long
as he does not make himself hated. Machiavelli tells us of the hardships, acquiring a state presents to a
ruler. In contrast to a republic, which is governed by the citizens, a principality is a princely state
administrated by the prince and his family.
In his note to Lorenzo the new prince, he mentions that republics (conquered by a new prince) are use to
living free, avoiding a discussion on republican government.
Machiavelli strongly favored the republican forms of government himself.
OF HEREDITARY PRINCIPALITIES II & MIXED PRINCIPALITIES III:-
While speaking of hereditary principalities, he says that since it is passed down to family members, any
minimally skilled prince could hold on to it. The challenge however lies in maintaining and governing the
state and it’s people. He makes several observations in support of his reputation for ruthlessness. On
friendship he particularly mentions that it’s contradictory not to betray your friends. For every human
being his/her best interest always comes first. Fickleness and selfishness always comes first. We must always
anticipate that others will act in there own interest. Conquering rulers must inevitably injure those they
conquer, concluding that if you must harm them harm them so that they won’t retaliate ever. Here
Machiavelli sees the brutality as a part of governing states. Machiavelli believes in using the most efficient
and controlled form of violence
Study Questions for September 17 24/11/10 2:33 PM
The subject of Chapter 2 is of primary interest to what actual or notional reader of
(Hint: it isn’t you or me, unless you’re sitting on an hereditary principality that none of the rest
of us knows anything about.) (I do have tenure, but I neither inherited it nor can I pass it on to
my sons.) According to this chapter is that reader’s entrenched position a safe or an unsafe one?
Will he need Machiavelli’s advice to maintain his position or could he dispense with it?
Speaking on acquired states Machiavelli says that ruling a new state poses much difficulty for the bloodline
princes rather than ruling the inherited state
Familiarity with the people, and techniques of governing assist in maintaining order among the people and
Hereditary states acquired by fortune are, by the people, preferred to be ruled by a family prince, rather
than a new ruler
Trust and comfort with ways of ruling are factors that enable the people to have such opinions. However,
for the ruler himself; a new principality can give rise to many oddities, for instance; hatred of the people,
challenges in establishing new rule, getting to know the allies, and neighboring states and rulers alike.
Essentially the hereditary prince has an easier time gaining the love of his subjects than a new one
Here I believe thaT Machiavelli’s ADVICE IS MEANT FOR THE ACTUAL READER OF THE PRINCE, WHO IN THIS CASE IS
M SUGGESTS THAT LORENZO NEED NOT DO MUCH TO BE WHERE HE IS, BUT TO MAINTAIN HIS POSITION AND HOLD ON THE
PEOPLE AND STATE IT WOULD BE WISE TO ACCEPT M’S ADVICE. Lorenzo’s fortune does not have the ability to rule a
state and not gain the hatred of its people.
In a well constructed book, we would expect Chapter 2 to deal with one subject, Chapter 3
to deal with another. And so it seems in
: Chapter 2 deals with how to keep an old
principality, Chapter 3 with how to acquire a new one. So when we get to the first paragraph of
Chapter 3 we’ve left the (nonexistent) perils of hereditary princes behind us, and Lorenzo
snoozing peacefully on his throne. We’ve moved on -- or have we?
King louis xii made five distinct errors
he destroyed the minor powers,
he increased the strength of one of the greater powers in Italy,
he brought in a foreign power,
he did not settle in the country,
he did not send colonies
we haven’t moved on, this is an example or more like a lesson to new princes
Machiavelli uses examples from his time to teach the more contemporary princes