Assignment Instructions

Machiavelli intended to write a handbook for princes, a type of work common since the fourth century C.E., yet his work stands out as a classic treatise that has transformed our understanding of politics and political theory.  Your paper should be a minimum of three pages in length.  Select one topic: (1)  What is Machiavelli’s view of human nature? How does this help explain what he says about the way a prince rules?   Conclude by applying Machiavelli to a current or historical ruler and assess the value of Machiavelli’s work. (2) Machiavelli is concerned with a distinction between appearance and reality and seeming and being.  Write on Machiavelli’s view on the role of dissimulation and sincerity.  Conclude by applying Machiavelli to a current or historical ruler and assess the value of Machiavelli’s work. (3)  Machiavelli writes: “They are sustained by the ancient principles of religion, which are so powerful and of such authority that they keep their princes in power whatever they do, however they live. These are the only princes who have states that they do not defend and subjects that they do not govern; the states, though undefended, are never taken from them, and the subjects, though ungoverned, neither protest, nor try to break away, nor could revolt if they a mind to. These, then, are the only safe and happy governments.”  Would Machiavelli consider the United States today a “safe and happy” government?    Use The Prince as the basis for your paper.  A short but excellent introduction to Machiavelli can be found in  Rice/Grafton, The Foundations of Early Modern Europe (Chapter 4, pp.140-145 .  You may use other sources for background information – but remember the paper you write is based on YOUR reading, interpretation, and analysis of The Prince. Use quotations from The Prince to support your main points.

Guidelines:

  1. Write a unified, coherent essay.  Pay attention to organization and the  flow of your argument.
  2. Use evidence from The Prince as a primary source to support your interpretation. Again, the  Rice/Grafton is especially useful, as are the essays in the Norton Critical Edition of Machiavelli’s The Prince. But use only as background information as you formulate YOUR overall argument and main points.
  3. Use quotations from The Prince to support your main points. Use the Chicago Manual of Style for citations from the sources you use. Footnotes preferred.
  4. Your essay must be word processed, double-spaced, 12 pt font – 3 page minimum and no more than four (4) pages in length.
  5. Attach a title page: include the title of your  paper, the course, instructor’s name, date, and your name.
  6. Save your copy of the paper.
  7. Proof-read your paper – there should be no grammatical, spelling, punctuation mistakes! Your use of English counts.
  8.  Revis

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