This essay argues that Machiavelli was not evil, but a patriotic citizen.

Essay by LauraWaltersUniversity, Master'sA+, April 2002

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There is good reason to believe that Machiavelli taught evil. One has only to open the book to find Machiavelli advising the use of violence in defense of the prince's power. In Chapter 3 he says, " . . . if [the prince] wants to hold [acquired principalities] he must have two concerns: one, that the bloodline of [the principalities] ancient prince be eliminated. . ."

(9), and in Chapter 19 he states, "And here one should note that hatred is acquired through good deeds as well as bad ones . . . a prince who wants to maintain his state is often forced not to be good." (77). It is easy to see in light of these passages, and many more like them, how one might interpret The Prince as a "Ruthless Dictating for Dummies." However, when these statements are examined in the context of The Prince in its entirety and in the context of history, it is plain to see that the well being of his homeland, and I would submit the common man, is Machiavelli's only concern.

Machiavelli lived in 15th century Italy. At this time, Italy was politically divided and its wealth was being plundered by numerous squabbles among Italian principalities and by foreign principalities hoping to take advantage of Italy's state of affairs. These wars left no one time to rule. The people were impoverished by these battles and rule of law was left for anarchy. If this state of affairs wasn't bad enough, the Church was also appropriating the wealth of Italy with its own armies and with the Inquisition. The Inquisition not only was a great source of income for the Church, it was also the chief executor of torture. Italy could never protect itself from invaders as long as it was...