The writing of The Prince by Machiavelli was mainly influenced by the political undertones in Italy. The author states that such cities are Genoa and Milan among other cities; they emerged as trading centers in the middle ages. The leaders of the most powerful States began the takeover of smaller and weaker States in Italy, a thing that led to major conflict in the Italian Peninsula. The feuds among States led to the revolutions between 1300-1455 periods. The wars led to decline in wealth creation and population mainly witnessed in Milan, Papal States, and Florence among others. This essay identifies the relevance of The Prince in modern politics and the misinterpretations of the writings in Machiavelli’s The Prince.
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There are a number of themes explored by Machiavelli in The Prince that are widely misinterpreted in modern politics. To begin with, Machiavelli writes that self-preservation and holding to power for the foreseeable future are valid objectives of a prince. In the rule, a prince must not always be virtuous as the subjects are unruly. The term virtue as used by Machiavelli is the ability to spot and understand available opportunities due to the time and fortune and manipulate the opportunities with wisdom and charisma. This notion would not apply in the modern democracies as democracy is directed by the rule of law, the law of the majority. All citizens must behave within the confines of the law and the presumption that the subjects would be unruly is taken care of by the legislature. Anybody who breaks the law faces justice in the courts. The legislature is the custodian of the constitution and interprets the provisions to tame the unruly characters. On the other hand, a ruler must carry the obligations as provided in the constitution and should there be objection, there are arms of the government that can impeach a sitting ruler.
Machiavelli also presupposes that a prince should only be judged by the successful outcomes of a rule. Religion and moral being should take secondary roles. The secondary roles are luxuries that should only suffice after the establishment of political stability and supremacy. The glorification of the prince is based on the assumption that since the prince is virtuous and is willing to take the gift of fate, he then would be effective in the leadership position. This statement is misinterpreted since ascending to power should be based on leaders with the ability to lead. The choice of leadership should not be based on opportunities like those accorded to prince but through a free and fair electoral process, which engages the citizens. The essence of democracy is the exercise of making a choice by voters to elect the right person to rule.
Alternatively, The Prince should be considered the first treatise in the neo-political scene due to outstanding ideals that are suggested by Machiavelli. It is true that a ruler in the capacity as a leader may be glorified in one area but fail in other sense. The choice of majority may not lead according to the expectations of the people because priorities change in any given time. The promise of economic recovery may be curtailed by the emergence of security measures such as the fight against terror attacks. Technology in modern politics must be enhanced to meet security challenges of modern terrorists.
The Prince also remains relevant in the modern treatise political panorama due the author’s assertion of the need for a strong leader. A strong leader should be able to give orders geared towards the protection of national territories against external influences. This was in reference to the Italian peninsula against the influence of European powers. A leader should not be coward when actions need to be taken to protect the interests of citizens. The reason for steadfast leadership is the role of opposition leaders who may negatively criticize a political regime for self vested interests. A ruler should be able to exercise his/her authority as long as they are in the best interest of the nation.
In the light of these discussions, The Prince could be either considered as widely misinterpreted book or the most relevant book in modern politics. Some assertions by Machiavelli are bound to be misinterpreted but the book gives effective morals for the current political leaders.
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