Political Theory of Machiavelli
Alexander Borgia was elected the pope through bribery and threats. Pope Alexander used the church’s wealth to benefit his own family. Some of the parts of Italy became Republic and others like Venice fell to dictators. No monarchy was present and no centralized government existed. Each city was like its own separate nation. Italy was struggling to unify itself. Machiavelli served the Borgia family as a political advisor. Machiavelli noticed the infighting among the rivaling Italian city-states but saw the effectiveness in the Borgia family members in maintaining their power. In forming his opinions he developed a treatise known as The Prince. The book was based upon his ideal Prince. Machiavelli describes his position that the Prince should be the only authority determining different aspects of the state to serve his best interest. These interests should be gaining, maintaining and expanding political power. In his books he is often very contradictory of himself. He believed that a prince should only serve his own best interest. If a prince cannot be both feared and loved it is better for him to be just feared. Machiavelli derived his views from the experience of the Caesura Borgia who was the current Prince of Italy during his time and hopped that it would provide a framework for future princes.
This virtue makes according to him makes him do his politics in a healthy and lively manner, in this case, citizen are allowed to lose their mind and character virtues for them to meet the challenges at the moment. In the Discourse, just like in the Prince, Machiavelli insists that a human being especially in leadership should learn to react to changing requirements of situations or time. He advices leaders that, there is no one way of doing things, it is always god to be flexible and tactful when faced with a situation that is not normal norm. There are people who refuse to deviate or restrain themselves from doing something because of what they hold as principles, even if the action will be beneficial to them or to others. Such kind of mindsets is what Machiavelli considers as not suitable for one who wants to make it as a good leader; leaders with principalities never last for long, when compared to those who change requirements considering the circumstances (Machiavelli 184). Also, in leadership, republics are preferred to principalities because they always make the right decisions basing of the situation and not of what should be, such leaders are considered the best in steering change in the community and the republic are whole. Therefore, a leader should have a virtue of changing requirements to meet the situation at hand to lead effectively. Remembering the bible, the king who was faced with a case of deciding the mother of the child between two women; the each woman was claiming that the child was hers, and because the king did not know the mother, he told them that the child will be cut into two pieces to solve the issue. This king, through his statement, he was able to verify the actual mother of the child; this is a situation he handled so quickly, without following the protocols followed to solve a problem. This shows that sometimes it is virtuous to deviate from the normal or moral way of doing things in order to make useful and important decisions.
Machiavelli, Niccolò. Selected Political Writings. U.S: Hackett Publishing, 1994. Print.