Machiavelli was a political philosopher during the period known as the Renaissance. He wrote a book called, The Prince, which is all about the qualities and strategies that he himself recommended to political leaders. But what were some of these qualities and strategies; and how do they represent a break with the past?
The Qualities and Strategies
Machiavelli stated that political leaders did not need to have a lot of good qualities; instead they needed to appear as if they did have a lot of good qualities. Basically meaning that they needed to look good, but didn’t necessarily have to do good things. Another thing that he stated was that it was better to be feared than loved; but he also concluded that a wise political leader should avoid being hated.
So overall, Machiavelli believed that it didn’t matter that a political leader was a terrible person in real life as long as that political leader pretended to have good qualities. Also that it was better for a political leader to be feared than loved.
How Does this Represent a Break With the Past?
This is a difficult question to answer for a few reasons, but I will say that the qualities and strategies that Machiavelli recommended were not drawn from Christianity whatsoever. This I guess was most likely a break with the past, because Christianity was so influential at the time, yet Machiavelli did not take anything from the bible.
Some of the qualities and strategies that Machiavelli recommended to political leaders were: political leaders did not have to have a lot of good qualities, instead they needed to appear as if they did have good qualities. Also it was better for a political leader to be feared than loved; but also it was not good to be hated if you were a political leader. The way that this represented a break from the past was because none of these qualities or strategies were drawn from Christianity. Which was uncommon at the time because Christianity was such a large influence at the time.