A prince is a title of the highest rank of the nobility. The word prince comes from the Latin word princeps, meaning first. The title prince can be used in many ways. In 1513, Niccolo Machiavelli wrote The Prince in which he wrote his ideas on how a strong ruler might gain and keep power. Many people have offered their views on how a prince or ruler should behave and govern. However many people today consider Machiavelli the father of modern political science.
Machiavelli was born in Florence, Italy in 1469 (Encarta). Not much else is known about his early years. He was appointed secretary of the second highest governing body in the Florentine republic in 1498 (Encarta). His duties consisted of mainly of conducting diplomatic missions (Encarta). He also organized a militia for the republic (Encarta). In 1512, the republic collapsed (Encarta). The Medici family, which had ruled Florence earlier, was then restored to power (Encarta). Machiavelli was arrested, tortured, and imprisoned on suspicion of plotting against the Medici rule, but he was released after less than a year (Encarta). In 1513, he wrote The Prince and in 1532, it was published (Encarta). This book describes the methods by which a strong ruler might gain power and keep power. The experience he acquired as a government official and his study of history led him to view politics in a new way. The political writers of the Middle Ages treated politics plainly, within the framework of religion. However, Machiavelli sought to explain politics realistically, based on his view of human nature within the framework of history. Machiavelli died in Florence on June 21, 1527 (Encarta). His political writings became more widely known in the second half of the 16th century (Encarta). Ultimately considered dangerous, in 1564 they were placed on the Church Index of officially banned books (Encarta).
Medieval feudalism accepted that God had vested earthly power in the members of noble families, the kings and lords who owed loyalty to Him and to whom in turn their social dependents were expected to entrust themselves. However, the bloody history and complicated political arrangements of the Italian states, where feudalism never took root, contradicted the medieval ideal. Lacking a framework that placed a premium on loyalty and cooperation, dukes and princes instead competed fiercely with each other. Machiavelli wrote two major books that forced people to reconsider how states really were governed. Machiavelli viewed the state as an organism with its ruler as the head and its people as the body. He maintained that a healthy state is unified, orderly, and in balance, and that its people have happiness, honor strength and security. An unhealthy state is disorderly and unbalanced, and may require strong measures to restore it to normal. Machiavelli called for a leader to use any means necessary to preserve the state, resorting to cruelty, deception, and force if nothing else worked. As a result, many people believed he supported the use of cruelty and deceit in politics.
Throughout his book The Prince Machiavelli gives insight on how a ruler may gain power and keep power. Machiavelli believed that hereditary rulers have an easier time keeping power and regaining it because they have less cause and less need to offend than a new one (Machiavelli). Unless a hereditary ruler does something truly despicable, the people will approve of him and fight to keep him in power (Machiavelli). If a stronger force strips him of the title, he will have an easier time regaining it, because of the necessary cruelties of his over throwers force on the people make them more affectionate for him (Machiavelli). This is seen throughout Hamlet. The people of Denmark love Hamlet no matter what he does. Machiavelli also believes that a prince’s main objective and profession must be warfare (Machiavelli). This can be done through action and study (Machiavelli) He should keep men trained and train with them (Machiavelli). Hunting is also a good activity for a prince because it teaches the lay of the land so that it’s resources can better be used to defend it (Machiavelli). This also improves the prince’s ability to explore when attacking opponents (Machiavelli). In any given area, he should give thought to different battle scenarios to decide how each would best