Questions for *The Prince,* Chs. 5-14

  • What do you think of Machiavelli’s third option for taking over territory that is accustomed to its own laws and freedom? Do you think this option would ever work in today’s society for someone taking over the US or another democracy?
  • Do you agree that if one comes to control a state, that they should commit their wicked crimes right away instead of over time? Machiavelli argues if one spreads out their wicked acts their subjects won’t trust them, but would you trust a ruler that was wicked either way?

4 thoughts on “Questions for *The Prince,* Chs. 5-14

  1. Roni Hanks

    Machiavelli is bold in his conclusion that a ruler must commit all the crimes he must immediately rather than over time. He is also careful to mention that the examples he used are not to be considered fine, moral men and that they are acquiring power, not glory, when they commit crime in this way. Putting morality aside, it would seem that this is the best way to go about committing wicked crimes if one must. Machiavelli writes when you go about crime in this way “the full extent of it will not be noticed.” I would not be able to fully trust a ruler that committed wicked acts, but according to Machiavelli, it is likely that I will underestimate the wickedness of the ruler if the ruler committed crimes quickly and all at once. This works to the rulers benefit, as I will probably trust him more than he deserves, as I will not be able to fully grasp the depths of his wickedness when too many crimes to mentally process occur in such a short period of time.

  2. Erin Taylor

    I can see where he is coming from, but I still just don’t know if I would trust such a ruler. In my head I almost see it as worse to commit the wicked acts all at once. I imagine if I were in such a situation where my state was taken over by a new ruler. If this ruler committed wicked crimes against my people right away without us getting to know any other side of him, I believe it would be hard to look past. I think the moral would be so low because of these wicked acts all at once and people would have a hard time getting over it, resenting their new ruler. But, if wicked crimes happened over time, maybe this would give the people more time and oppurtunities to know different sides of the ruler, not just his wickedness. Then, perhaps, if they like and trust him, they will be more understanding to what needs to be done, even if the acts are wicked.

  3. Meagan Armenta

    I do not believe that wicked ruling can ever be justified. The United States is arguably in my opinion one of the greatest countries in the world and our authoritative leaders use no such force. If the United States were to be taken over by a new ruler, I would have a hard time trusting a ruler who commits such crimes all at once. People are prone to hold grudges and I think if citizens were harmed by such crimes they would eventually want revenge once these crimes were completed. If a new ruler commits crimes over a long period of time I think the citizens would get tired of withstanding the abuse and rebel as well. With that being said I do not think I could trust a ruler who commits crimes all at once or over a span of time, however if I had to chose I guess I would agree with Machiavelli and say that the crimes need to be committed right away all at once. This would prove to the people whose in charge. If the crimes are committed early and the ruler begins to calm down and eventually does things for the benefit of the people, then I think the citizens could possibly forgive and forget the previous crimes.

  4. Imani Jerome

    Machiavelli gives three courses of action that one can rake when trying to takeover a state that is accustomed to the idea of freedom and their own laws. 1) You could lay them to waste. 2) You can live there in person. 3) You can allow them to continue living their lives under the former laws and freedoms, make they pay you and create an administration of political elites who are loyal to you. I believe the third option is the best option to take if you want to stay in power because as long as you do not take away their freedom and change their laws the citizens should not have any reason to rise against you. You should also not put complete trust in your administration for the simple reason that they are not you and may not make decisions you would make. I do believe this option would work today in a democratic society if and only the system of government put in place isn’t to far from the one that was before it. If the system of government put place is not similar to one before it this then would cause an uprising among the people.

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