What did Machiavelli mean when he said, “In Republics there is greater life, greater hatred and more desire for revenge”? What examples from the modern world can be used to agree with or dispute his statement?

Expert Answers

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Machiavelli had an interesting and profound viewpoint, which has impacted many political thinkers and government studies to this day.

In order to thoroughly answer this question, it is vital to remember Machiavelli’s purpose in writing the book, The Prince, where this quote originated. In this book, Machiavelli instructs princes or a prince on how to carry out government in the most effective manner. For example, Machiavelli offers his advice, which includes lying to the people while appearing generous.

With this specific quote, I think it is important to finish the sentence’s quote, which says:

In Republics there is greater life, greater hatred and more desire for revenge, and the memory of ancient liberty does not let them and cannot let them remain quiet.

As a result, we can see that Machiavelli is discussing new regions being taken over by a prince. These people can be harder to control due to their recent memory of another government system being in control of the region. Consequently, Machiavelli urges the prince to take more drastic measure to stifle out the memory of the past government.

This concept is still seen today. For example, Russia (within the past two decades) attempted to take over parts of the country of Georgia. The Georgians remembered their regions being under their own control; thus causing them to argue over the land. As a result, they have been many negotiations and are still attempting and hoping to take all the land back. With this, Machiavelli would indicate that the Georgian people remember their past too well, which is causing the resistance of giving up their territories to Russia.

Sources

Machiavelli, Niccolò, and Peter E. Bondanella. The Prince. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005. Print.

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