Machiavelli’s Statecraft


  • The state should be a nation state.
  • State is the highest form of social organization to promote and protect human welfare.
  • The prince (king) should be most powerful to rule the fool people.
  • Men are born bad. There is no inherent virtue and goodness in them.
  • They are ungrateful, fickle (unable to decide), deceitful and coward driven by the motives of fear, lust for power, vanity and self interest.
  • Men are more prone to evil than to good.
  • The method of the government must therefore be one, i.e., force to bring such people into the track, to control them, to fulfill their desire of protection of life and property.
  • Force breeds fear and fear is more disciplinary than love.
  • It is through force and repression that the innate evil tendencies, selfishness and aggressiveness in men can be kept under check and control.
  • The king should always be respected and fearful before the people.
  • One should be confident that force used by the prince (king) is for the benefit of the people.
  • According to Cook, ‘Prince of Machiavelli is meant ruler to be dictator for public good not for his own pleasure and profit’.
  • The king must take advice from all but decision should be of his own.
  • The security of life and property of the people should be managed properly.
  • Neither in power not in possession, there is any limit to human desire.
  • Desire for both power and possession are in perpetual strife and competition which could lead to anarchy, so they would be silent by the imposition of force only in the cost of security of life and property.
  • An individual would more readily forgive the murder of his father than the confiscation of his patrimony.
  • Fear of punishment should be wide spread.
  • There are no words of religion and morality in the dictionary of politics.
  • State was neither moral nor immoral but non-moral.
  • So every means is justified if it is calculated t lead to the desired ends. State power is primary, religion and church is secondary having separate jurisdiction.
  • The prince cold use any means—fraud, forgery, trickery, breach of faith but should be powerful and forceful.
  • Prince should not use mercenary soldiers in his nation but should prepare own strong national army.
  • National army should always be loyal to king.
  • The prince should always be ready for war.
  • The prince should manage the balance of power in international affairs and maintain diplomatic relations, as far as possible, with many countries.
  • The government should be established in accordance with the development of society.
  • In educated, developed and public spirited society, the republican government (‘Discourses on Levy’) is the best form of government.
  • But anyway, the government should always be forceful, powerful and strong.
  • To Machiavelli, “Power is the end (goal) of the state.”