Machiavelli Questions Why did he write the Prince? He desired the foreign powers, or barbarians, to be driven out of the peninsula altogether, and realized that since two of the five areas in Italy were not under the control of the same family, the Medici family ruling Florence and the Medici Pope Leo X in Rome, it was a perfect chance to bring law and order to the disorder everywhere about him. When did he write the Prince? He wrote the Prince in the first 2 years of exile, 1515. Who was Savonarola? A Dominican monk who came to Florence. He was the de facto ruler and took over the city because it was on the pathway to sin. “Bonfire of the Vanities”- threw literature, paintings in the fire. Who were Cesare Borgia and Remiro de Orce? Machiavelli served as an ambassador to Cesare, which made an impression on him. Cesare was the son of Pope Alexander VI. Orce was Cesares lieutenant What are Machiavelli’s views on nature? Machiavelli’s philosophy about the nature of man is that man possesses both good and bad qualities, but will lean towards his own self-interests when all things are equal: thus man is a fickle creature. Machiavelli’s view of human nature influences his view of government. Gloomy and cynical. Men are naturally disposed to “old ways of life” and therefore harbor an inclination to follow tradition. What are Machiavelli’s views on morality? Ancient Greeks conceived of a close relationship between ethics and politics, Machiavelli seems to separate these disciplines altogether. Nonetheless, to deny that Machiavelli’s political theory accommodates any form of morality and ethics would be inaccurate. Is it better to be feared or be loved? Why? “The answer is of course, that it would be best to be both loved and feared. But since the two rarely come together, anyone compelled to choose will find greater security in being feared than in being loved.” As Machiavelli asserts, commitments made in peace are not always kept in adversity; however, commitments made in fear are kept out of fear. Yet, a prince must ensure that he is not feared to the point of hatred, which is very possible. Is it a good idea to use mercenary troops? No! He believes them useless to a ruler because they are undisciplined, cowardly, and without any loyalty, being motivated only by money. Machiavelli attributes the Italian city states’ weakness to their reliance on mercenary armies. What vice helps a ruler rule? Machiavelli still describes a necessary, dangerous game of internal politics, which involves the pitting of one group of citizens against another. In some cases, cruelty is a necessary evil, and using it can be justified in the interests of some greater public good, like internal stability or protection from invasion. “The portrait of an ideal prince does not describe a ruler who equally values politics, philosophy, and art as aspects of his rule, but one who focuses exclusively on the military strength of the state that he governs. Although Machiavelli only mentions cruelty and stinginess in Chapters XVI and XVII, the argument could extend to other so-called vices, such as stubbornness or cowardice. The mind of Machiavelli’s prince is cold and calculating, concerned with ends rather than means. Virtually any action that contributes to the overall goal of maintaining control of the state is acceptable to him. What is the most effective defense against conspiracies? Machiavelli observes that most men are content as long as they are not deprived of their property and women. A prince should command respect through his conduct, because a prince that is highly respected by his people is unlikely to face internal struggles. Additionally, a prince who does not raise the contempt of the nobles and keeps the people satisfied, Machiavelli assures, should have no fear of conspirators. What beastly qualities are helpful to a ruler? A prince who relies on his own prowess and can “force the issue” will usually succeed. At times, “forc[ing] the issue” might literally mean the use of force. This can be dangerous, but if the ruler succeeds in his use of force, he will become strong, secure, and respected. What is the relation between fortune and human actions? Machiavelli argues that fortune is only the judge of half our actions and we have control over the other half. Rulers who rely on prowess instead of fortune are generally more successful in holding power over states because they can meet the challenge of establishing a new order. How does he characterize fortune Machiavelli compares fortune to a torrential river that cannot be easily controlled during flooding season. In periods of calm, however, people can erect dams and levees in order to minimize its impact. Fortune, Machiavelli argues, seems to strike at the places where no resistance is offered, as is the case in Italy. Additionally, a prince’s rule must be suited and adjusted for the times. In a more controversial metaphor, Machiavelli writes that "it is better to be impetuous than cautious, because fortune is a woman; and it is necessary, if one wants to hold her down, to beat her and strike her down." However, the attitude encapsulates Machiavelli's view of power and his understanding of the lust which follows it. A prince should imitate the actions of great men before him but only to a certain extent, adjusting certain aspects of his predecessors' ideas. Princes who succeed due to the sway of fortune or the goodwill of others lack such a foundation from which to rule and will have difficulty building a foundation quickly enough to prevent power from slipping out of their hands. What is the Strappado? is a form of torture in which the victim's hands are first tied behind their back, and then he or she is suspended in the air by means of a rope attached to wrists, which most likely dislocates both arms. Weights may be added to the body to intensify the effect and increase the pain. Savonarola had this done to him. Who was Pope Alexander VI? A person who Machiavelli admired a political figure. Explain the differences between cruelty well used and cruelty abused? "Well-used cruelty (if one can speak well of evil) one may call those atrocities that are committed at a stroke, in order to secure one's power, and are then not repeated, rather every effort is made to ensure one’s subjects benefit in the long run. An abuse of cruelty one may call those policies that, even if in the beginning they involve little bloodshed, lead to more rather than less as time goes by." Who were the Medici and why are they important? Powerful figures of Florence. Cosimo de Medici began the Platonic Academy of Florence- also seen as the unofficial ruler of Florence because of his influence. This whole family was affluent and owners of banks. They arrested Machiavelli on suspicion of conspiracy, tortured, imprisoned and exiled. How does Machiavelli feel about the issue of neutrality during wartime? Regarding two warring states, Machiavelli asserts it is always wiser to choose a side, rather than to be neutral. Machiavelli then provides the following reasons why: If your allies win, you benefit whether or not you have more power than they have. If you are more powerful, then your allies are under your command; if your allies are stronger, they will always feel a certain obligation to you for your help. If your side loses, you still have an ally in the loser. Machiavelli also notes that it is wise for a prince not to ally with a stronger force unless compelled to do so. In conclusion, the most important virtue is having the wisdom to discern what ventures will come with the most reward and then pursuing it courageously.