HOW SHOULD WE ACT AS LEADERS IN THE COMMUNITY? A comparison between Nicollo MAchiavelli's theories for leadership and those of the Catholic Church

Essay by miss_behaveCollege, Undergraduate October 2002

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Nicolo Machiavelli and the Roman Catholic Church hold varying beliefs on what it is to be a leaded in our community. The most pronounced difference between the two theories for leadership is that the Church's central idea of a leader is "what a leader does is what a leader is". This is contradictory to Machiavellian principle which suggests that a leader must learn to deceive, lie and even act against one's own morality to achieve greatness. His central idea is that a leader who is not wicked should practice wickedness to rule effectively. This comparison is the core difference between the ideas of the Catholic Church and Nicolo Machiavelli's theories.

Nicolo Machiavelli lived in Florence, Italy. At the time which he lived, the country was in political upheaval and Italy was not united but was rather a collection of city-states. Machiavelli became an important diplomat and was involved in much of political life within Florence.

However, when the Medici family came into power, he was tortured and made to exile. While in exile he devoted himself to writing history, political philosophy and plays. Once the centre of all political discussion, Machiavelli was now on the outer and tried everything he could to return to Florence. The Medici family refused him. In Machiavelli's time, political power was often gained by violence, and the loss of power often involved the leading political figure losing liberty or even life. To hold onto power one required a willingness to be brutal. But the mistake Machiavelli made was to spell out what the politicians of his day already knew, and that was that power was about pure survival and nothing else. Machiavelli studied powerful figures throughout history. By doing this he gained insight into what they did to attained power, and was able to...