Virginia Commonwealth Republican Political Theory Paper

Question Description

Five-Page paper

In discussing classical republican political theory we often focus on the “origins” or “foundings” of republics.

In this paper, using Machiavelli’s ideas about how the most stable and longest-lived republic (or nation) develops, discuss what he argues the founders of a republic must consider.

Your paper may address or develop a thesis around the following questions. You need not be comprehensive or fully address all of them. Use them as a guide for reviewing and thinking about the material. You may find other themes in the texts as well.

  • Is violence necessary to founding a republic?
  • How is violence “best used” in Machiavelli’s view?
  • Is justice an issue for Machiavelli?
  • What is the relationship between morality and politics?
  • What is the difference between virtue and “virtú”?
  • What is the role of “reputation” or appearances in the craft of ruling?
  • What are the measures of success?
  • Why is a mixed republic the best form?
  • What is the role of institutions?
  • What is the role of “the people”?

The main thing to remember is that you must show the reader that you have read and developed an independent understanding of the materials. Comparing it to what you think is happening in contemporary contexts is a good strategy for developing a thesis and a theme for the paper.

Your paper must have a thesis. You must follow up on that thesis throughout the body of the paper (do not get distracted).

You should conclude the paper by identifying for the reader the significance of the discussion about political foundings. You may place the discussion in whatever context you find interesting and pointed to in the introduction (something about the contemporary world, something about a historical event of significance, or something from your own political experience). This will probably mean that you should rewrite the introduction after completing the paper because ideas will come to you as you write.

Your conclusion should point the reader back to the introduction and thesis while building on what you say in the introduction. This is often done by reviewing what you did in the paper and then building a bit by putting it into context, as I say in the paragraph above.

Another “rule” that we have not discussed enough is: KEEP IT SIMPLE. We are helping you work on the craft of writing about, in this case, Machiavelli’s, ideas in a coherent, respectful, and critical fashion. Do your best to reflect your understanding in your own words and in a focused manner, and then say a bit about that in your intro/conclusion.

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Running head: REPUBLICAN POLITICAL THEORY Republican Political Theory Date: 11/12/2019 Republican Political Theory 1 REPUBLICAN POLITICAL THEORY 2 The literature of Niccolò Machiavelli offers a unique insight into politics and how republic governments can be formed. Machiavelli was a political thinker? figure who endeavored to ensure that leaders satisfy the needs of the state while guaranteeing that those who take over from them do not face difficulties in maintaining order. Machiavelli’s republican political theory aids in explaining how balanced and healthy governments can be formed without violating the rights of others (does he worry about “rights”? who are these others?). Machiavelli understands that leaders may be trapped in a political tangle between their personal and state desires (rephrase). In his literature, he argues that leaders must be able to fulfill the needs of the state at the expense of satisfying their whose? (antecedent is unclear) wants. Furthermore, Machiavelli articulates that a republican government is one that uses its authority effectively to maintain the security of its citizens and the state. He emphasizes that a republican regime is critical for the longevity and continuity of a state. Machiavelli argues that numerous elements such as morality, violence, reputation, and justice are important in the development of a republican government, hence it is important to consider them when establishing a republic. There are several potential theses in this first paragraph. You need to decide what you are focusing on and make that the thesis while the intro generally works to frame the importance of that claim for the reader. Machiavelli argues that violence is not necessary when founding a republic. Notably, he was born in a time when Italy had a republican government. Eventually, he ended up working as a clerk in the regime which later equipped him with knowledge about different government styles. Later, Italy lost its republic government because of internal conflicts. According to Machiavelli, conflicts between Milan, Florence, Venice, and Naples played a significant role in destroying the government (Machiavelli et al., 1982). Every state was interested in taking over control of the government and other territories like Holy Land. Machiavelli articulates that REPUBLICAN POLITICAL THEORY 3 violence makes it difficult for leaders to make wise decisions that affect a state. Also, violence causes instability in the different arms ?? of government. As such, it is the responsibility of the leaders to collaborate with other government agencies to mitigate probable internal conflicts. Machiavelli emphasizes that national security is important in creating a republic government. Therefore, in Machiavelli’s view, deception and violence can be best used during wars to maintain national security. It is the duty of the government to protect the security of its citizens. Thus, in cases of wars, it is wise for the government to use violence to ensure that its citizens are not harmed. In this paragraph you have turned to a discussion of the Prince, but the intro paragraph was about the Discourses (or how to found a republic). The two texts are hard to write about at the same time unless you focus on one theme (perhaps how he addresses the question of violence in each). However, I suggest you focus on one or the other. Moreover, Machiavelli claims that morality is important in maintaining a republican government. He argues that states must be separated from religion. This is because the Kings may be misadvised based on particular religious’ beliefs. Separation of states from religion would ensure that leaders focus on what is important to a state. Also, leaders should not be influenced by their religious beliefs because it can jeopardize the welfare of a state. In most cases, the wrong advisors prioritize their interests at the expense of the social welfare of the state. Wrong advice, in turn, makes the king be manipulated and may end up coming up with agendas that are against the needs of their citizens. Therefore, Machiavelli proposes that conventional morality should be maintained within nations to effectively satisfy the needs of citizens. Nevertheless, he also emphasizes that it is not essential to maintain morality among countries since the law of the jungle prevails (Machiavelli et al., 1982). Morality would ensure that the government handles its citizens well without violating their rights?? Machiavelli does not argue REPUBLICAN POLITICAL THEORY 4 this in this way. To enhance morality in politics, most laws are based on religious contexts— why?. For example, laws of murder, theft, and rape are primarily established from religious beliefs. Additionally, Machiavelli asserts that justice can be found in both politics and religion. He claims that justice is important in a republic government because it exhibits respect for the rights of its citizens. Also, justice ensures that citizens who violate the law are held accountable for their actions. You need to review the text here…it is not clear from this how religion and the political rule or the stability of the republic is related. Again, focus on what Machiavelli argues in particular and in the context of his larger project– and elaborate on his claims…do not only offer a generalized summary. REPUBLICAN POLITICAL THEORY 5 How does this relate to what went before? There is a variance between virtue and virtú. According to Machiavelli, virtu refers to the desirable qualities that a leader can find essential to acquire order in a state and achieve great things (Machiavelli et al., 1982). On the other hand, virtue is a behavior depicting moral goodness. Machiavelli recommends that a ruler must have a flexible disposition to be an individual of virtu. He sees politics as a battlefield where a leader is required to have virtu to overcome the different challenging situations. Besides, a leader who possesses virtu is likely to be competent in how they apply power in different situations. On the contrary, However, he argues that virtue is not sufficient enough for one to be a legitimate leader since a leader may eventually be manipulated. Machiavelli asserts that the reputation of a leader can significantly influence their governance in a republic government. In this, hostile leaders are less likely to receive cooperation from the citizens. On the contrary, leaders with a good reputation are well supported by followers (Machiavelli et al., 1982). Machiavelli is a good example of how reputation can impact one’s governance. Initially, he did not receive respect from the people since he was seen as hostile. Later, he was able to change his ideas and behavior to build a healthy reputation. Besides, Machiavelli says that the success of a leader is measured based on how they use power. Appropriate application of power may make the ruler be obeyed by the followers. Also, it can result in the maintenance of security in a state. Not sure where this information or interpretation is coming from, but it does not work as part of the general essay here. Mixed republic is the best form because it enhances popular liberty, social equality, and political participation. A good republic government is signified by a longstanding, free and healthy nation that appreciates everyone. It requires government agencies to be united as they strive to solve the needs of the citizens. Besides, in a mixed republic, leaders are expected to REPUBLICAN POLITICAL THEORY 6 practice selflessness to maintain the safety and security of a country (Machiavelli et al., 1982). They work to ensure that there is comprise between the government and the people. Furthermore, the leaders signify a combination of minds and characteristics of individuals who are different. Lastly, it is essential to note that a mixed republic represents the will of the citizens and the union. In this form of governance, Machiavelli proclaims that rulers must be remembered for the sacrifice and liberties that they granted to their citizens. Machiavelli articulates that people have the responsibility of promoting communal liberty. The people have the freedom of expressing themselves. As such, they should use the privilege to pronounce the negative vices such as violation of their rights, oppression, and abuse. Expression of the people may help reveal abuse of power by the government. As a result, necessary measures are enacted to maintain the public liberty. On the other hand, when people fear to express themselves, they are likely to continue being oppressed by the regime. Thus, a republic government should endeavor to ensure that it gives people the freedom of expressing themselves. Moreover, in a republic government, institutions have the obligation of creating and enacting laws (Machiavelli et al., 1982). The laws govern how the state will relate to its citizens. Also, the laws provide regulations on the behavior of the people and the powers bestowed to them. Besides, laws set a limit on how a regime can exercise its authority on the people. In case a regime violates the laws, the institutions have the power to take action on the government. Therefore, institutions are important because they enhance a good relationship between the citizens of a state. In conclusion, Machiavelli addresses some of the important elements of establishing a republic government. Morality, virtu, and justice enhance peace and cooperation between a regime and its citizens. Additionally, people and institutions play a critical role in ensuring that REPUBLICAN POLITICAL THEORY 7 the government does not oppress its citizens. The people are allowed to express their grievances publicly so that appropriate measures can be enacted. Also, institutions establish laws that will govern a country. Machiavelli also proclaims that violence is not always beneficial to a state. It destabilizes peace and security in a country, making it difficult to rule. Besides, he also argues that it can be important during wars to maintain safety and security. However, nations should ensure that all acts of violence are aimed at protecting their people rather than oppressing them. Overall, the ideas of Machiavelli about a republic government can be used to create a nation that is fair to its people. His ideas also exhibit the need for involving citizens when governing a state. Your essay has no form to it as it is here. Please identify a thesis and focus on developing an argument rather than reporting a lot of disparate elements of Machiavelli’s thinking. REPUBLICAN POLITICAL THEORY 8 Reference Machiavelli, N., Lerner, M., Detmold, C. E., Vincent, E. R. P., & Ricci, L. (1982). The prince and the discourses (p. 416). New York: Modern Library. …

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