Machiavelli on arming the population

From chapter 20 of The Prince. The first two sections are directly
relevant.
.
The Prince (published in 1513) was well-known when the US was being
founded.
Joe Gwinn
Reply to
Joe Gwinn
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Hear, Hear!
Reply to
Larry Jaques
Before you get all excited, you should read the entire book. It's about how to manipulate a population so a monarch can run it peacefully and successfully.
For example, the "arm the people" idea applied only to certain circumstances. In others, Machiavelli's recomendation was to disarm them all -- if you can't use them for cannon fodder, keep them intimidated.
If you think about what he's saying, you won't be so enthusiastic. It's all about how to manipulate people like you.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
True - it's good advice on how to be a successful Prince.
This is realpolitic, long before democracy reached Italy.
While I'll grant that The Prince is pretty ruthless, it's a whole lot more nuanced than that.
By all means read the whole thing. It's not all that long, and it's more often misapplied or misquoted than read.
It's still in print, 500 years later. How many books can claim that?
Joe Gwinn
Reply to
Joe Gwinn
Sure. But how much nuance can you introduce to someone who hasn't even read it?
Isaiah Berlin, one of the most sophisticated critics of Machiavelli, says that there is "over a score" of substantial critiques and interpretations by authoritative sources. His writing remains shocking and a dilemma for modern western readers. Lofting a few quotes about arming a populace is about as dumbed-down a misunderstanding as we'll see.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
The Bible, basically the same general purpose...
Reply to
Leon Fisk
Democracy was in force in Rome in various times from 300BC.
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Reply to
mogulah
When you say "democracy" the Roman system of democracy, during the Republic, is probably not what you are thinking about. During he republic one voted in one's tribe and the tribes each had a specified number of votes to elect the consul. Thus, the Plebs, the largest single political division had no more political power that the Patricians who they largely outnumbered.
The Senate, the Roman governing assemble, was appointed, not elected and of course only full citizens could vote, excluding foreigners, slaves, women and for a period "free men" who were basically freed slaves.
The Patricians and Knights divisions were largely based on wealth and family history so essentially if you envision a U.S. who's president is elected from wealthier members of the DAR and an appointed congress you will get the picture.
Reply to
John B.

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