Niccolo Machiavelli's Theory of Power Politics | The Prince

Niccolo Machiavelli'

Niccolo Machiavelli's Theory of Power Politics | The Prince

Basic Biography

Niccolo Machiavelli was born in 1469 AD in Florence, Italy. There is very little information about his early life. But he became known when he joined the Court of Florence. However, a government was toppled in a revolution in Florance. 

Appointed as Secretary of War

The new government in Florence had elevated Machiavelli and he was appointed as Secretary to War.  As a Secretary to war, he became a diplomat and he travelled across the Italian states to make peace and defence policies for Florence. He remained as a Secretary of war for 14 years

Exilled of Machiavelli

After that, some bad happened and the revolution was reversed. And the toppled government again came into power. As a result of this, Machiavelli was dismissed and exiled.

Important work

When he was imprisoned he started writing. He wrote many books but the most important book was The Prince

Also Read: Aristotle's Political Philosophy | Western Political Thought

Theory of Power Politics | The Prince 


In the dark era, different Christian scholars like Pops became the interpreting the messages of God. Pops became the kingmakers. More likely, Pops were considering themselves as the authority of what God wants. 

As a result of this power of pops, the King made an alliance with the Pops. they have a deal that if people rebel against the king then the Pops have to handle the people by saying that the words of the King are the words of God. As a result, the King will give wealth to the Pops. this is called the divine right theory. 

As a result of what Pops has done, the Kings became bruited. Due to this, they faced some kind of reaction from the people. They started questioning, how God could be so cruel to them. Simply, the people started questioning the King. the people said that if you want us to believe that whatever you saying is the saying of God then you have to prove it.  

The revolt and questioning led to the rebirth of science and enlightenment. This questioning also started to develop in Italy in the era of Machiavelli. And he became one of the most important catalysts in the Enlightenment process.

Mechavelli observation 

Machiavelli as a diplomate observed the working of states. He wanted to explore the reasons for the division of Italy. As an Italian, he wanted to reunify Italy. He expressed his observation and said his opinion that the root cause of the division of Italy was the Popes. Because the pops are trying to protect the weak Kings. 

According to Machiavelli, the unity of Italy is possible if the Prince relies on his power for politics and not divine-based power. Therefore, he can govern effectively. So the unity of Itlay is linked with the powerful rulers


Human Nature

According to Machiavelli man by nature is rational, and he made his decisions on logic and reason. Man is only motivated by the fear. 


According to Mechavelli states are also selfish, and self-centric and states have also fear. The constant fear in the states means the constant fear in the rulers. States can be of different types. But he says that the most effective and powerful form of government is the Absolute Monarchy

Relevance to the Modern Era 

  • This theory is related to the theory of Realism in the modern time 
  • Machiavelli is the pioneer of secularism
  • This theory gives us the concept of a balance of power
  • State interest is beyond everything 
  • A patriotic army is one of the ideas of Machiavelli for the protection of a state

Advice to the Prince

In his theory, Machiavelli provided some advice to the prince. These are the following:

  • The Prince must ensure the separation of the Church from Politics.
  • The Church should be subordinate to the state in case of any clash.
  • The Prince must not bring ethical and moral principles into state matters.
  • The Prince in his governance must not be involved in religion. He must not keep any attachment to religion, but he must allow people to have religion. He should use the people’s religious sentiments to achieve state interests. 
  • The Prince must be feared as well as respected but in case of a clash, he must be more fearful than respected. 
  • The Prince must be brave like a lion and cunning like a fox for the state's interest.
  • The Prince must ensure that his state must expand or expire.
  • Lastly, in case there is a war in the neighbourhood the Prince must not remain neutral. He must take the side of the weaker one. 


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