-Main arguments of the article:
The author had three main arguments that he based his essay or article on, which are:
1. Integrating the military and political thoughts of Machiavelli.
2. The two aspects of Machiavelli’s thought “Military and Political” are more compatible with each other in The Discourses than they are in The Prince.
3. The two aspects of his thought are rooted in his reverence for the roman republic system.
He started by saying that there were few attempts or few arguments that tries to prove that the military and political thoughts of Machiavelli aren’t separated from each other and that all the scholars treated them as two separate intellectual fields. So, the author of this article tries to integrate them and prove that they aren’t contradictory through this article.
-Machiavelli’s Military thoughts “Art of war “:
After determining his main arguments, the author started talking about the military thoughts of Machiavelli (his definition of war, tools that should be used in the war, what should be done for an army to achieve excellency, organization of the army …..).
For Machiavelli war is inevitable and nothing except war can ensure the greatness and defense of the state, the ultimate goal should be victory and any kind of violence is legitimate when it is used to achieve victory. But a good army is essential to achieve victory and by good army Machiavelli meant citizens’ Militia, this idea was the core of Machiavelli’s Military thought as you can’t rely on mercenary and auxiliary troops because they work for money only and can blackmail for profit or seize power in the states that they are supposed to defend , avoid any risk or danger and they are disunited and undisciplined. citizens’ Militia has a lot of advantages (costs less compared to mercenaries and they will fight against any enemy without any return but because it is their land).
He then talked about the organization of the army and said that Infantry are superior to cavalry as they form the “Nerve system of the army” and they can also avoid the artillery, so the artillery also isn’t as important as the Infantry, the greater use of the artillery is in attacking not defending.
But besides all of this, the army can’t do anything or achieve victory without being disciplined, discipline will be achieved when the central command is in the hands of one man. Every soldier should know his duty and what should be done in cases of emergency. By this way the army can achieve victory and excellency.
-Forms of Government:
After the author has talked about the military thoughts of Machiavelli, he talked in the next section about the best form of government in the eyes of Machiavelli, but we must distinguish between what Machiavelli said in The Prince and what he said in The Discourses.
The author talked first about The Prince and said that Machiavelli in the Prince focused on “Principality” and divided it into two types (Hereditary Principalities, New Principalities) , in the former he said that rulers don’t need much advice as they face fewer difficulties but the latter he subdivided it into two types (it can be held by rulers who acquired power through their own virtue and armies, it can be held by other who acquire power through other men’s virtue and armies).He focused on the rulers who come to power by wealth and aid of foreign armies
-Purpose of The Prince:
In the next section the author focused on the fact that Machiavelli had a hidden purpose behind writing The Prince regardless his personal and political motives. In the above section we said that Machiavelli focused on the cases of government where the ruler come to power by the support of foreign armies and he did so because he wanted to gain the support of the medici prince “Cesare Borgia” who came to this position by the fortune of his father “Alexander VI” so, Machiavelli’s book was in the form of advices to him to get a job in the Medici government. But then the author said that we can’t deny that Machiavelli had other purposes from writing The Prince other than his self-interest, he wanted to liberate Italy from the non-Italian barbarians who wanted Italy to stay politically fragmented and unstable and he expected that Cesare Borgia would do this and unite Italy.
Then the author talked about the fundamental ideas that Machiavelli talked aboin his book. First the “Theory of Struggle between the virtue and Fortune”, he said that the ruler can’t depend on fortune and trust it as is doesn’t last long so and for a ruler to achieve his highest goal, he must be able to curb fortune. Machiavelli employed the “Theory of Virtue” to discuss the qualities that must be available in a prince, the princely virtue for him is different from the conventional virtue as Machiavelli rejected the view that virtue and morality are connected and he argued that the position of the prince and in order to for him to achieve his goals he must posses qualities that aren’t considered always good or moral because we live in a dark world and not all men are good. Machiavelli doesn’t agree that virtue and morality are related rather he agrees that virtue and necessity are related. He defines Princely virtue as “The ability to act and behave according to the dictates of necessity” so a prince must learn how not to be good and employs or not employs it according to the necessity. In sum Machiavelli sees that the prince must be flexible and able to act differently according to different times and circumstances.
From the important qualities that a prince must posses is that he should learn how to act like a beast and be strong enough to overcome the dangers that face him, he must also be parsimonious and not fear from outside anger or hatred because this is better than being generous and hated by his people, another quality that should be available in a prince is cruelness rather than mercifulness to make the evils fear him and push the danger away “It is safer for a prince to be feared than loved”. For Machiavelli the prince should be hypocrite in order to achieve his goals and he isn’t forced to keep his promises if this promise will disadvantage him or the reason isn’t relevant anymore. At the end of this section the author said that Machiavelli stressed on the fact that the prince shouldn’t be hated by his people because this will be so dangerous to him.
In this section the author discussed the Political ideas of Machiavelli in his book The Discourses and compared it with his ideas in The Prince. In this book he talked about the issues that he didn’t take about in The Prince because he was disappointed by the medici government. In the beginning of the book Machiavelli started talking about freedom, he of course agrees with the view that freedom makes the state unstable but it is essential because depriving people from their freedom will maintain peace but it will limit the growth of the state and liberty is more secure when it is in the hands of the people ex: Tribunes of the roman republic protected the roman liberty. So, freedom will make the state achieve its greatness which is the aim of Machiavelli in this book.
It is apparent that Machiavelli in this book is more interested in republican regimes more than principalities unlike The Prince when he excluded republics. But like The Prince Machiavelli applied the theory of fortune and necessity and said that fortune is necessary to achieve freedom, but you shouldn’t depend on it completely to attain greatness, you should also depend on virtue with it. So, both virtue and fortune are inevitable in achieving freedom. In The Prince he said that leaders only posses virtue but this view changed in The Discourses and he said that both leaders and masses posses virtue but of course the two virtues aren’t the same and there are differences between them but they are similar in terms of purpose which is achieving the common good.
Machiavelli then clarified the idea that a republic or principality require one man to establish it, a prudent one, because you can’t rely on the masses to establish a state due to different opinions, but after establishing it we can’t leave it for this one man because in this way it will not last for long.
The Freedom that Machiavelli was talking about will disappear if citizens started to promote their ambitions and factional loyalties at the expense of the public and to prevent this we must focus on maintain virtue and greatness of the city through two institutions which are “Religious and law”
-Main arguments of the article: