Did Machiavelli Feel That Autocracy Was the Best Form of Government?
At first thought, this question seems simple enough. After all, Nicolo Machiavelli did more or less write an "autocrat's handbook" when he authored The Prince. In this text, Machiavelli explains how an autocrat rises to power, when an autocrat can best rise to power, and how an autocrat retains power. So going by this, it would seem that Machiavelli is very much a supporter of the autocratic system. In fact, this questions seems to be all but put to rest during the last chapter of The Prince, in which Machiavelli calls for a strong ruler for Italy, and even goes as far to say Italy is primed for such a ruler to take power, as he calls on Lorenzo de' Medici to become prince to save Italy from it's constant invasions.
However, when one begins to look more closely at The Prince, Machiavelli's support for autocracy seems to be much less than one might first think. As early as chapter two, Concerning Hereditary Principalities, Maciavelli's begins to paint the picture that autocratic governance may not be the best from of government. Near the end of the chapter, Machiavelli states that "...one change always leaves the toothing for another" (Machiavelli, The Prince, Ch. 2, p. 2). This could be...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 849 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6397 literature essays, 1755 sample college application essays, 259 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in