📌 Check out these other AP Euro resources👇
- This review goes over Absolutism, which is a style of ruling heavily influenced by Machiavellian ideals
- This video reviews the Renaissance, which was the time period that Machiavelli's works were published in.
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Purpose of a Ruler 👑
- Machiavelli's first major idea was a take on the guiding factors that rulers should consider when making decisions.
- Famously, his work, The Prince, asserted the "end will justify the means." Henry VIII's decision to cut ties with the Pope, start his own religion, and divorce his wife is a good example of this.
- A strong, centralized government was a relatively new idea during the late 16th century; royalty was usually just loosely held titles combined with wealth and a slight hold on the nobility.
- There was also little national identity before Machiavelli suggested a unification under one government.
The Age-Old Debate ⚖
- Machiavelli is most well known for posing an important question. Is it better for a king to be feared or loved?
- He argues a king must strive to be both; they are not mutually exclusive.
- Machiavelli asserts that if only one can be maintained, it is better to be feared, because loyalty maintained by threat is less likely to dissolve. Should a ruler chose to be loved, his actions will be scrutinized by a fickle populace. Their approval will not hold forever, and the king could be deposed or lose authority.
- This line of thinking aligns with the ideal that human beings are fundamentally untrustworthy, which relates to Thomas Hobbes' later classic, Leviathon.