Machiavelli-the Prince Essay, Research Paper
Nicholas Sine (if you read this please email me)
Period Four SurfrNick@yahoo.com
April 5, 1998
“Society is always taken by surprise at any new example of common sense.” Ralph
Waldo Emerson knew exactly how our society thinks when he said those words. The
Prince, written by Machiavelli, was made of his thoughts on being or becoming a ruler.
Because Machiavelli’s ideas were, like Emerson said,”…examples of common sense…,”
people were shocked by them. Machiavelli’s ideals for society reflect common sense.
It does not matter how loving a ruler is, if he/she is not aggressive, then he/she will
not govern well. Machiavelli knew that to rule a society you need to be talented in using
power. Power is a gift that not all people have. All of this proved to be common sense by
the way the people rejected it. This is like when Robespierre was revolted against during
the French Revolution in the late 1700’s. Machiavelli concluded that if you have power,
you should use it in what ever way necessary to get what you need. Machiavelli stressed
that it was not so important what the cause was, as what the effect could do. While the
general public would like to dismiss this idea, common sense would encourage it. If you
need to be rash in order to do well, then being rash and crude was not a problem. Peter
the Great was a tyrant who wanted St. Petersburg built and to do so he took many
people’s lives because it was such hard work. Machiavelli knew that for a society to
survive, it had to have the smartest population. Teaching was important in society.
Whoever holds the knowledge, holds the key to a strong civilization. This was another
idea of Machiavelli’s that was common sense. Hierarchies, to Machiavelli, were the only
way for a ruler to have control. He described that a ruler needed power to control its
people, and a hierarchy is the only way to accomplish that. The United States has a form
of hierarchy and so does England. Both of these countries have been very successful.
Even though the population will say this is wrong, it is in fact, the only way change can be
accomplished. Yet another idea of Machiavrelli’s that was common sense was that in
order to take effect, it was vital for laws to be strict. Law is the way a ruler can control
his power and keep it in his/her’s own hands. While most disagree, it is common sense
that fairness is not important. Just about all countries have some type of jail. People go to
jail because there are laws that they must have broken. As The Rolling Stones have said ”
…You can’t always get what you want, no you can’t always get what you want, but if you
try some times, you just might find, you get what you need… ” To be fair is to give
society what it wants, not what it needs. A ruler mustn’t give the people any power
becuase that would only lower the power of the ruler.
Just because society thinks that ruling kindly is the proper way, does not validate
it. If everyone would simply understand what they know and not what they want, then it
would be clear that Machiavelli’s ideas consisted of nothing but truth and common sense.