The Prince

From the Valley to the Peak

Within his work The Prince, Machiavelli presents a double perspective on rulership that works to focus the direction of outlook beyond the habitual leader to leader approach we have previously seen. Breaking from tradition, Machiavelli's idea that "in order to properly understand the behavior of rulers one needs to be a member of the lower classes" introduces a whole new set of problems for the reader that introduce the dynamic between the people and the prince. (p.6). This relationship creates a type of double-layered viewpoint, as neither the people nor the prince have a complete perspective. Thus the people are not predictable, and it is this assertion that really individualizes Machiavelli's political theory. Bringing in the peoples' viewpoint breaks with traditional political theory in that it allows for a type of real-world analysis and contextual accuracy that is not possible within theoretical and ideological discussions of rulership - relevant historical examples and personal experience supercede moral arguments about goodness in Machiavelli's realistic doctrine.

One of the major effects of such a populist vantage point is its concentration on the people's actual realistic relationship with...

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