James’ new homeschool unit is the Renaissance and the first social studies assignment was good old Machiavelli! When I heard that was going to be the subject I definitely was looking forward to hearing what James had to say. Below is part of the lesson and his summary of how he would “lead” if it were up to him.
Lesson: Political philosophy generates ideas on how good community is achieved through legal and economic values. With The Prince, Machiavelli introduced aggression into political philosophy. Leaders were not encouraged to live up to high philosophical or religious standards. Instead, Machiavelli wrote about the necessity “for a prince wishing to hold his own to know how to do wrong, and to make use of it.” While it was not necessary for a ruler to have good qualities, Machiavelli wrote “It is very necessary to appear to have them… to appear merciful, faithful, human, religious, upright…. but with a mind so framed… that you may be able to know how to change to the opposite.”
Tell me one value involved in political philosophy. ECONOMICS
What does the word aggression mean in terms of Machiavellian politics? FORCEFUL LEADERSHIP
Can you think of a time when a world leader appeared compassionate, but enacted laws or policies that were harmful to their citizens? HITLER STARTED OUT AS SEEMING TO CARE BUT WAS SO WICKED
The Prince influenced northern European politics in the 16th century. To counter Machiavellian political philosophy, a French politician named Innocent Gentillet published Discours contre Machievel in 1576. Gentillet was exiled for condemning Machiavellian politics. Gentillet believed government wealth was a product of its satisfied citizens and population, not infighting and bad laws.
What time period does the 16th century refer to? 1500s
What does the word condemn mean? STATE THAT IT IS NOT VALID
Are you familiar with any activities or citizen that has been ridiculed or exiled for condemning a law or policy? YES, NELSON MANDELA FOR SPEAKING OUT ON APARTHEID
James, how do you know about Hitler and Nelson Mandella and apartheid. These are not topics that we have covered in school this year. I KNOW ABOUT THESE THINGS FROM YEARS OF LISTENING AND ABSORBING EVERYTHING AROUND ME. I CERTAINLY DID NOT LEARN IT AT SCHOOL.
Machiavellianism is a term that some now use to describe a persons tendency to be unemotional, able to detach from conventional morality and hence deceive and manipulate others. Because Machiavelli’s political thinking is based on how people in power really behave, he is considered the father of modern political science.
What does it mean to describe someone as Machiavellian? SOMEONE WHO IS RUTHLESS AND MANIPULATIVE
Why is Machiavelli considered to be the father of modern political science? HE CONTRIBUTED TO THE FIELD OF POLITICAL SCIENCE WITH THE PRINCE AND HIS PHILOSOPHIES ON LEADERSHIP.
Creative Writing: Now that you have learned about Nicolo Machiavelli, contemplate his political philosophy. What do you think of his philosophy? Imagine that you are the leader of your own country. In your country you have to make tough decisions that may not please every person 100% of the time. How can you balance the needs of your country with the desire to please your citizens?
MACHIAVELLI’S PHILOSOPHY ON POLITICS IS PRETTY CUT THROAT. MACHIAVELLI WAS PROBABLY REALISTIC ABOUT MOST POLITICIANS.
IF I WERE A LEADER OF A COUNTRY, I WOULD STRIVE TO LEAD MY PEOPLE IN THE MOST HONEST WAY POSSIBLE. NO ONE WOULD AGREE WITH ME ONE HUNDRED PERCENT SO THAT WOULD NOT BE MY GOAL. INSTEAD MY GOAL WOULD BE TO GOVERN MY PEOPLE AS HONESTLY AS I COULD. THE BEST INTERESTS OF MY COUNTRY AND NOT MY OWN INTERESTS IS WHAT WOULD SHAPE MY POLICIES. I WOULD LIKE TO THINK THAT I COULD MAINTAIN MY INTEGRITY AND STILL BE AN EFFECTIVE LEADER. I KNOW THIS MAY SOUND NAIVE BUT I WOULD STRIVE TO BE A LEADER WITH MORALS. THE END.