The Prince Chapter 1-9.docx

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Political Science
Mark Lippincott

Lecture 12: Machiavelli, The Prince (Chapter 1-9) Outline of the Lecture 1. Biographical Info, Important Dates, Intellectual Context 2. The Prince: Machiavelli’s personal context – a diplomat without a posting 3. Chapters 1-9 a. Heredity vs. new principalities b. On the nature of political friendship (M’s critique ofAristotle’s Ethics) c. The Roman view of politics/war vs. the contemporary view of politics/war d. Centralized vs. decentralized principalities e. New principalities acquires through skill vs. new principalities acquire through luck f. Coming to power through wicked actions vs. coming to power through the support of one’s citizens Machiavelli: Important Dates 1469: M. born on May 3 in Florence 1498: M. is elected head of the Second Chancery and soon thereafter secretary of the Ten of War, the body in charge of the military and diplomatic affairs of Florence 1500: M. travels to the French court of Louis XII 1503: M. is in Rome to observe the Papal Conclave that results in the election of Julius II 1513: M. is arrested, incarcerated and tortured for suspected involvement in a conspiracy against the newly installed Medici regime. M. Writes The Prince in the second half of this year. During his forcer retirement, M. writes history and drama. 1527: M. dies on June 21 1532: First printing of the Prince 1559: M.’s works are places on the Papal Index of Prohibited Books The Prince: Machiavelli’s personal context – a diplomat without a posting • He tries to distill his experience into the basic fundamental laws of politics • In order to be a good ruler, one need not and ought not be good. Good in the sense of abiding by the strengths of conventional morality. • The use of political power should be used by someone who is virtuous – this is what was taught at the time Machiavelli was growing up • Machiavelli rejects this moralistic view of authority • Power not goodness gives on the right to command but goodness does not assure power The Prince: Chapters One and Two How many types of states are there? Principalities  Heredity: When the rulers’ancestors have long been rulers (e.g. Florence under the Medici). New: They are either entirely new (e.g. Milan in 1450) or they are added on to the hereditary state of the ruler who acquires them (e.g. Naples added onto Spain.) Republics  Those regimes used to living under freedom, i.e. those regimes governed by the popular government. M. Puts these regimes aside: “I have discusses them elsewhere.” He says i.e. his Discourses on Livy) How are regimes acquired? through fortune or through strength. • People willingly change their ruler thinking that the change will be for the better • In Chapter 2, the news for heredity prices was very good but all of a sudden in Chapter 3, it turns very bad. • The one thing Machiavelli suggests the usurp should do, in chapter 3, is whip out all of its relatives. You take them to a seller and shoot them. To get a secure hold on power, one needs to eliminate all the people in the family of power. On the nature of friendship Aristotle on friendship: “Each of them is both good without qualification and good for his friend, since good people are both good without qualification and advantageous for each other” (1156b 13-16) Machiavelli on friendship: “It is in the nature of things that as soon as a foreign power enters into a region, all the local states that are weak rally to it […] The Romans were friendly towards the weaker rulers without building up their strength…” (Chapter 3) • People become friends because each anticipates some good for him. • Friendships only exist so long as the common interest that created them also continues to exist. • Every friendship is also potentially a relation of conflict. • Friendship is viewed as more important than interest. It’s viewed as caring for a friend as much as caring for yourself. • Afriendship transcends relations of utility. This is the conventional teaching Machiavelli tries to say in Chapter 3. • Friendship for Machiavelli is a means to the good. • M. believes that life is too shot and the only reason why you should be friends with them is based on the standard “what have you done for me lately” or “what will you do for me soon” • The Prince forces the readers to see the evil truth about morality Machiavelli turns to ancient politics to show us that politics is about looking at examples of how to do and not to do things. Romans and Louis The main example of how not to do things in Chapter 3 is Louis the 12 , and the Romans are the example of how to act. Somehow the romans did everything right, while Louis did everything wrong. Romans Counsel of war Swift, decisive resort to force Pre-emptive view of politics and war; make bad things happen to others Act as if men are bad The usefulness of deception Louis XII Counsel of peace Soft power, i.e. expanding your influence by trying to benefit others Placing your trust in fortune and in the honesty and good will of others Act as if men are good The necessity of honesty, charity, mercy, forgiveness, etc • He is characterized by his desire to do good and put off war • He is described as “squeamish” What explains the difference between Romans and Louis? Christianity, of course. • It’s Louis Christianity that makes him such an incompetent king. He trusted his fellow men and god. He tried to keep his faith. • Machiavelli shows us these are very bad habits in a prince. • The ideals of Christianity are charity, mercy, sacrifice, love of god, forgiveness of enemies, faith, life hereafter etc. but these so called “virtues” is what undermines a stable and orderly community • There’s also the power of the church as an institution. • Louis wanted to divorce his wife: she had failed to provide the kingdom with heir, he ought to divorce and marry someone who could produce him with a child • He couldn’t do this though because he needed the pope’s permission. • He also wanted to make his favorite advisor a cardinal.As long as the church had an influence in France, it was necessary for Louis to gain some influence in the church. Chapter 4: Centralized vs. Decentralized Principalities Centralized: Power is centralize in the hands of one centr
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