Machiavelli’s idea of a perfect leader was someone who should be feared rather than loved because the people who fear you are less likely to turn against you (The Prince 65). However, it was important that a leader was not feared to a point where he was also hated. “If you are going to choose to be feared than it is crucial that the citizens of your country do not hate you” (The Prince 72). Machiavelli also believed that to be a good leader you must have the support of the people. Without the support of the people holding a position as leader would not be possible because it was crucial to the success in the Expansion of Italy’s territory (The Prince 21).
Although Machiavelli thought that the support of the people was necessary for a Prince to thrive, he also believed that by nature all man was evil. This meant that while he had to have a certain amount of compassion, it was also necessary for him to stay true to his evil roots because as previously mentioned; a prince must not only be loved by his people, but also feared. Machiavelli believed it was essential for a prince to commit a certain amount of crimes such murder or theft. He believed this was essential to becoming a prince so people would fear their leader. “it is far safer to be feared than loved” (The Prince 43). The prince could be forgiven of committing a crime because he could get away with whatever to some extent. Machiavelli describes many ways why a leader is viewed as being evil. “He resolved to make himself prince and to hold by violence and without obligation to others the authority which had been spontaneously entrusted to him” (The Prince 21). Machiavelli developed a theory that the prince should be viewed as someone who does not have the people’s best interest in mind.
Leadership in Renaissances Italy was very unstable. All the leaders in the city-states were competing against one another to rule over Italy. Machiavelli told them if they wanted to rule, then this was the way they ought do so. First, he stated that principalities could either be acquired or inherited but that they were more easily inherited. It was more difficult to maintain acquired states because people had high expectations of their leaders “But in new princedoms difficulties abound. And, first if the princedom be not wholly new, but joined on to the ancient dominions of the prince, so as to form with them what may be termed a mixed princedom, changes will come from a cause common to all new states, namely, that men, thinking to better their condition, are always ready to change masters, and in this expectation will take up arms against any ruler” (The Prince 2). Religion and leadership play a good part in Machiavelli explaining the relationship between being a good leader and having religion.
Machiavelli explains that religion is man-made because the value of it lies in the contributions of social order and the rules of morality. Machiavelli was concerned that Christianity made men weak and inactive. There was a fear that God could be replaced by the fear of a prince, that is if the prince was strong enough. (The Prince 28) Machiavelli felt that having religion was essential to keeping order. He felt that a truly great prince can never be religious himself, but should make his people religious if he can. Machiavelli had a judgment that