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The Prince Niccolo Machiavellis The Prince examines the nature of power and his views of power are still somewhat in existence today Machiavelli discusses two distinct groups of people the political elite including nobles and other princes and the general public Today in the United States the first group the political elite includes political leaders religious leaders business leaders and the leaders of strong lobbying groups The composition of the general public has changed little from Machiavellis time Ill discuss this in this essay emphasizing the following theses Machiavelli discusses power over the people dictatorial power and power with people shared power While it is possible for power with to attain greater prevalence in society it will not completely eliminate power over Machiavelli concentrates on relations between the prince and the political elite He claims that ambition and dictatorial power drive most nobles and princes A prince must act with dictatorial power in order to maintain his position Machiavelli assumes that shared power will not be effective with nobles since whether men bear affection depends on themselves but whether they are afraid will depend on what the ruler does Machiavelli p60-61 Since the nobles are unforgiving and greedy it would be dangerous if not downright suicidal for a prince to rely on their good will Equally important Machiavelli states that a prince a political leader has different concerns than the general public For a prince personal actions which would be considered immoral or unvirtuous may save lives or help the princes country In this way a prince is not immoral but instead acts with a morality different in nature from the general public Machiavelli gives several examples of this Miserliness is considered a fault Yet a miserly prince will come to be considered more generous when it is realized that his revenues are sufficient to defend himself against enemies that attack him and to undertake campaigns without imposing special taxes on the people p56 Likewise
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