Machiavelli’s The Prince (1513) Global I honors: Spiconardi

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Machiavelli’s The Prince (1513)

Global I Honors: Spiconardi

Directions: Read the article from BU Today on Boston University’s website ( The article has an interview with a professor of Renaissance studies who discusses the legacy of Machiavelli’s The Prince, which is celebrated its 500th anniversary in 2013. Answer the questions below. Please type or neatly write your responses in blue or black ink with the appropriate heading.

  1. Why was Machiavelli’s The Prince considered “groundbreaking?” How did it compare to other handbooks for governing at the time? Write the answer in your own words.

  1. Select one ruler we have studied this year that Machiavelli would use as an example in The Prince. Provide evidence as to why your selected ruler who be an exemplar to Machiavelli.

  1. Professor James Johnson gives a hypothetical case to his students about Slobodan Milosevic and an advisor. Milosevic actually had all of the atrocities committed that were identified by his hypothetical advisor. Answer the question Professor Johnson poses to his students, “If Milosevic has his advisor’s strategy in mind when he gives his orders, is the advisor morally implicated in what follows?

  1. Respond to three (out of four provided) of the following points made in The Prince. Do you agree? Disagree? What are your thoughts and reactions to each argument put forth by Machiavelli?

    1. A ruler should not be overly generous to his people. Too much generosity causes greed for more, drains the resources from the state, and could lead to a need for higher taxes, which would undoubtedly anger the citizenry.

    1. Although a ruler would like to be both feared and loved by his people, it is difficult to be both. Given the choice, it is safer for a ruler to be feared by the populace rather than loved by the populace. Men worry less about doing an injury to one who makes himself loved than to one who makes himself feared. Fear is simply a means to an end, and that end is security for the prince.

    1. On occasion, rulers must be cruel in order to protect their power and the state. Cruelty against a few people can prevent widespread disorder. When cruelty is necessary, a ruler must strike hard and swiftly in one stroke. For example, when taking over a new territory “one need merely eliminate the surviving members of the family of their previous rulers.”

    1. A ruler should appear to be honest, merciful, religious, and kind, but he must be willing to abandon these traits when necessary. A prince cannot truly have these qualities because at times it is necessary to act against them. In fact, he must sometimes deliberately choose evil.

Due Date: ____________________________________________

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