In The Prince, What is Machiavelli's basic argument on the question of whether a ruler ought to be loved or feared?

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The answer to this question can be found in Chapter XVII of The Prince. Here Machiavelli observes that, given a choice, rulers would obviously want to be loved and feared. But if this is impossible, he argues, and if a ruler had to choose between one or the other, it is better to be feared than loved. The reason for this lies in Machiavelli's cynical view of human nature:

For of men it may generally be affirmed that they are thankless, fickle, false, studious to avoid danger, greedy of...

(The entire section contains 265 words.)

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