machiavelli -- (1) niccolo machiavelli, 1469-1527

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  • Slide 1
  • Machiavelli -- (1) Niccolo Machiavelli, 1469-1527
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  • Machiavelli -- (2) Lived esp. in the independent city-state of Florence Diplomat for the regime, 1498-1507 Regime he worked for driven from power, M. was never able to regain positions retired, spent the rest of his life writing (and trying to gain the favor of powerful princes The Prince written for the Medicis (1513) [it didnt work, but it got a lot of later attention!]
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  • Machiavelli -- (3) A Note about The Prince: was it written tongue in cheek? After all, M. was tortured by these very people!] Whether or not so, well take it at face value The book is in the form of advice to princes [compare with Aquinas On Kingship...] The sole premise is that they want to maintain and expand their power principles, moral considerations, etc., are all subordinated to that end Whatever the form of government, Machiavelli held, only success and glory really matter. [ Our big question: Is this interesting? If so, why?.......
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  • Machiavelli -- (4) How to Govern formerly independent conquered places: 1) - despoil them 2) go there oneself 3) allow independence -> a city used to liberty can be more easily held by means of its citizens than in any other way, if you wish to preserve it. being the creature of the prince, it knows that it cannot exist without his friendship and protection, and will do all it can to keep them. note the reason for allowing independence - not that they have a right to it, but that its easier to hold on to it...
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  • Machiavelli -- (5) New Dominions Acquired by ones own Arms & Abilities - easier to retain than acquire nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. The reformer faces: a) enemies in all who profit by the old order b) only lukewarm defenders in those who would profit by the new order this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favour his opponents attack with the zeal of partisans while the others defend him but halfheartedly,
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  • Machiavelli -- (6) armed prophets have conquered, while unarmed ones failed. Look at Moses, e.g..... [ironic?] Agathocles the Sicilian: rose from the lowest private life to be King of Syracuse. led a life of utmost wickedness through all stages killed all the senators by trickery and ruled happily ever after... Clearly, this mans achievements were not due to fortune. Nor virtue (killing fellow citizens, betraying friends...) without faith, pity or religion but by these methods one may indeed gain power, if not glory. Agathocles compares in qualities of the soul to the most renowned captains. Still, his barbarous cruelty and countless atrocities disqualify him from the list of the most famous.
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  • Machiavelli -- (7) How did Agathocles succeed? (without revolt) Its a matter of exploiting ones cruelties well or badly. - Well done are the ones that are perpetrated just once then exchanged for measures as useful to the subjects as possible. - Ill-committed cruelties, on the other hand, increase rather than diminish with time. Timing: the conqueror should commit all his cruelties at once Whoever does otherwise is obliged to stand always with knife in hand, and can never depend on his subjects. benefits, by contrast, should be granted little by little, so that they may be better enjoyed. -- hearts and minds...
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  • Machiavelli -- (8) The Civic Principality - becoming prince by being a favorite of his fellow citizens not necessarily by merit... but by cunning, assisted by fortune every city has two opposite parties: the great (few) and the small (numerous) You can work on either one: - currying favor with the former is hard, because they think theyre your equal - doing so with the latter is easy because they dont it is impossible to satisfy the nobility by fair dealing and without inflicting injuries, whereas it is easy to satisfy the mass of the people this way. For the aim of the people is more honest than that of the nobility.
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  • Machiavelli -- (9) The conflict of aristocracy and the people - has one of three effects: absolute government, liberty, or license. Absolute government can be created by either party - by aristocrats who want to oppress the people - by the people, who want to avoid being oppressed Easiest is to side with the People but if you do the nobility, you should cater to the people while youre at it gain the favour of the people - which will be easy if he protects them. the prince can never insure himself against a hostile populace, because of their number, whereas he can against the hostility of the great, who are few. People who expect evil and receive good feel a greater obligation to their benefactor [it feels so good when he stops!] I conclude that it is necessary for a prince to possess the friendship of his people, for otherwise he has no resource in time of adversity.
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  • Machiavelli -- (10) Concerning Ecclesiastical Principalities they are acquired either by capacity or good fortune, and they can be held without either for they are sustained by the ordinances of religion, which are so all- powerful, and of such a character that the principalities may be held no matter how their princes behave and live. [example, Pope Julius (who had at least one illegitimate child and was generally believed to be a homosexual while he was at it) (a) greatness of the church which terrified his enemies (b) not allowing his enemies to have any cardinals [because cardinals foster the factions in Rome and out of it, and the barons are compelled to support them]
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  • Machiavelli -- (11) Militia and Mercenaries The chief foundation of all states, old and new, are good laws and good arms. - they go together [!] Best: an army of your own [people] mercenaries and auxiliaries are unreliable nothing keeps them in the field beyond their wage which isnt enough to make them die for you Theyre happy to be soldiers so long as you dont make war, but when it comes, off they go Auxiliaries are the other useless arm - when a prince is called in with his forces to aid and defend They are useful and good in themselves but for him who calls them in they are bad: losing, one is undone, and winning, one is their captive. with mercenaries dastardy is most dangerous; in auxiliaries, valour
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  • Machiavelli -- (12) Duties of a Prince Regarding his Militia war... is the only art that is necessary to one who commands But princes who think more of luxury than of arms soon lose their state. Machiavellis Realism: he who abandons what is done for what ought to be done will rather learn to bring about his own ruin than his preservation. A man who makes a profession of goodness in everything must come to grief among so many who are not good. So the prince must learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge or not, according to the necessity of the case. [modern saying: No good deed goes unpunished]
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  • Machiavelli -- (13) Liberality and Niggardliness It is well to be considered liberal liberality as the world understands it will injure you: for if used virtuously and in the right way, it wont be known, and you will incur as much disgrace as if you had been niggardly. To get the reputation of liberality he must put on every kind of sumptuous display which will consume all his means, - so he will at last be compelled to impose heavy taxes etc That will make his subjects hate him and by this liberality, having injured many and benefited but few, he will also feel the first little disturbance and be endangered by every peril. And if he tries to change his ways, hell incur the charge of niggardliness. So the prince, if he is prudent, must not object to being called miserly.
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  • Machiavelli -- (14) Liberality and Niggardliness continued... he really is liberal to all from whom he does not take - who are many! and niggardly to all to whom he does not give, who are few In our time, nothing great has been done except by those called niggardly - the others were all ruined. So a prince who wishes to avoid robbing his subjects must care little about having the reputation of a miser; this niggardliness is one of the vices that enable him to reign. With his own, he must be sparing
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  • Machiavelli -- (15) Liberality and Niggardliness continued... Spend other peoples money -- the prince may either (a) spend his own wealth and that of his own subjects, or (b) the wealth of others. In the first case, he must be sparing, but for the rest he must not neglect to be very liberal. You can be pretty liberal by spending other peoples money This liberality is necessary to a prince who marches with his armies and lives by plunder, sack, and ransom, and is dealing with the wealth of others, for without it, he would not be followed by his soldiers. spending the wealth of others will not diminish your reputation; only spending your own resources will injure you.
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  • Machiavelli -- (16) Liberality and Niggardliness continued... Why being a miser is better than being a thief: Nothing destroys itself so much as liberality by using it you lose the power of using it So it is wiser to have the name of miser - which produces disgrace but not hatred -- than to incur of necessity the name of being rapacious - which produces both disgrace and hatred.