essay on Machiavelli


Machiavelli and the President Lately, the president of the United States Bill Clinton, has pursued some policies that have been very unpopular not only with the general public but the electorate as well. Besides the whole Monica ordeal, he feels that these unpopular policies will affect the results of the next election. The presidential advisors have formulated countless plans but no plan has seemed to work.

One idea would be to leave the unpopular policies as they are because of the president and advisors’ belief that they are the best for the country. Another option would be to just present the unpopular policies in a new way to maybe change public opinion on them. Still, another would be to just ignore the policies and concentrate on the election. No matter what option, if any, should be chosen one must be thought up quickly and it must not only address the problem but solve it fast.

Since I have recently learned about Machiavelli and his work titled The Prince I feel his opinions would help to influence some decisions for the president and his advisors. A first and very important view of Machiavelli would be his view of the prince and his advisors. “It is an infallible rule that a prince who is not wise himself cannot be well advised.”(p.117) As it is up to the prince to be well advised it is also up to the president to be well advised as well. The president’s advisors, as well as the president, are not sure what actions to take, which in Machiavelli’s view would not be a good characteristic of a leader and as a result would not help gain the friendship of the people.

A good relationship with the people is one of his greatest points because without the people there is no leader. The leader, the president, must have the support of the people, and if not he will not stay in power long. The president is not doing a good job of this because of his very unpopular policies. Machiavelli would never choose to just continue on the same path and peruse unpopular policies.

“It is necessary for a prince to possess the friendship; otherwise he has no recourse in times of adversity.”(p.65) In response to this, he would abandon the unpopular policies and concentrate on winning the election, keeping the people happy. Not only should the leader concentrate on the present and the future but consider the past. “ The prince ought to read history and study the actions of eminent men, examine the causes of their victories and defeat in order to imitate the former and avoid the latter.”

(p.82) History is bound to repeat itself if not watched very carefully. The leader must avoid repeating the blunders of the past and take note of the victories preceding him. Another view that would help the president out in his policies would be Machiavelli’s view on boldness. The leader is far better off being bold instead of cautious. If you expect for the worse and be prepared for bad times even if it’s not the best strategy you will be better off in the long run. “For if it happens that time and circumstances are favorable to one who acts with caution and prudence he will be successful, but if time and circumstances change he will be ruined because he does not change his mode of procedure.”

(p. 121) The leader must at all times be prepared for the worst so he does not get caught off guard and make the people mad. If these views of Machiavelli seem straightforward or direct maybe Leo Strauss or J.G.A. Pocock could explain these methods of leadership to the president. Pocock would elaborate on the subject of historical awareness. He could help the president understand that we have to look to our past to help better ourselves for the future. Strauss on the hand would compare Machiavelli to the greeks and their writtings.

He would go in-depth though about how the greeks, Mr. T in particular, were kings in understatements while Machiavelli was very straightforward in his writings. After presenting these views to the president I hope my knowledge of Machiavelli and his way of thinking could help influence the policies in place and maybe help the president win the upcoming election. Maybe after my essay is read and I graduate from Southwest Texas with a Political Science degree maybe I could get a job at the White House and someday take over his job.