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Machiavelli and the Problem of Political Development

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2009

Extract

There is a striking similarity between the Italy of the cinquecento and today's developing nations. In both worlds, the chief characteristics are internal fragmentations with little or no community of interest, the all-too-frequent rise and fall of political regimes, a disharmonious relationship between government and governed, and the absence of meaningful direction. Flux and volatility are the all-pervasive features.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © University of Notre Dame 1968

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References

1 For the varied causes of this phenomenon in today's developing nations, see, for example, von der Mehden, Fred R., Politics of the Developing Nations (Englewood Cliffs, 1964), especially pp. 3035.Google Scholar

2 “There is a very great difference between choosing between alternatives that are known to exist and discovering new alternatives. Such discovery of a new alternative is… a creative process…. Now the freedom of creation… is distinct from selection in that it cannot possibly be predicted.” Friedrich, Carl J., Man and His Government (New York, 1963), p. 367.Google Scholar

3 Bluhm, William, Theories of the Political System (Englewood Cliffs, 1965), p. 231.Google Scholar

4 Hale, J. R., Machiavelli and Renaissance Italy (New York, 1960), p. 138.Google Scholar

5 For Machiavelli's underlying scientific outlook, see Burnham, James, The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom (New York, 1943), Part II, Chapter 2.Google Scholar

6 Machiavelli, Niccolo, The Prince, in a Modern Library Edition of The Prince and the Discourses. (New York, 1950), Ch. 3, p. 11. All subsequent quotes from Machiavelli are taken from this combined edition. Italics in the above quote are mine.Google Scholar

7 Merkl, Peter H., Political Continuity and Change (New York, 1967), p. 14.Google Scholar

8 Hale, op. cit., p. 32.Google Scholar

9 One might ponder the following observation by another eminent Renaissance political analyst: “How often is it said: if only this had been done, that would have happened; or, if only that had not been done, this would not have happened. And yet, if it were possible to test such statements, we should see how false they are.” Guicciardini, Francesco, Maxims and Reflections of a Renaissance Statesman (New York, 1965), p. 47.Google Scholar

10 The Prince, Ch. XVIII.Google Scholar

11 Wolin, Sheldon, Politics and Vision (Boston, 1960), p. 208.Google Scholar

12 The Discourses, Bk. I, Introduction, p. 103.Google Scholar

13 The Prince, Ch. XVII, p. 61.Google Scholar

14 The Discourses, Bk. I, Ch. III, p. 117.Google Scholar

15 Ibid., Bk. I, Ch. XXV, p. 182.

16 Ibid., Bk. I, Ch. LVIII, p. 265. Also, see p. 263.

17 For a brief review of contrasting interpretations of Machiavellian politics, see DeLamar Jensen (ed.),Machiavelli, : Cynic, Patriot, or Political Scientist? (Boston, 1960).Google Scholar

18 The Discourses, Bk. I, Ch. XVIII, pp. 170171.Google Scholar

19 Wolin, , op. cit., p. 208.Google ScholarOne may also recall that even Socrates recognized the occasional necessity of deceiving people. Cf. Plato, The Republic (New York, 1961), especially Part I, Ch. I and Part II, Ch. XVI.Google Scholar

20 For one of the most cogent discussions of this paradox, see Wolin, , op. cit., pp. 220224.Google Scholar

21 The Prince, Ch. VI, p. 21.Google Scholar

22 The Politics, trans. Ernest Barker (London, 1950), IV, i, 3 and 7.Google Scholar

23 The Discourses, Bk. I, Ch. XXV, p. 182.Google Scholar

24 These two principles are incorporated in the concept of “reinforcing dualism” by Robert Ward. See any of the following: “Political Modernization and Political Culture in Japan,World Politics, XV, 4 (07 1963);Google Scholar with Dankwart Rustow, “Conclusion” in Ward and Rustow (eds.), Political Modernization of Japan and Turkey (Princeton, 1964);Google Scholar and “Japan: The Continuity of Modernization" in Lucian Pye and Sidney Verba (eds.), Political Culture and Political Development (Princeton, 1965).Google Scholar

25 The Discourses, Bk. I, Ch. II, p. 110.Google Scholar

26 Ibid., Bk. I, Ch. XI, p. 148.

27 Ibid., Bk. I, Ch. XLV, p. 229.

28 Ibid., Bk. I, Ch. LVIII, p. 261.

29 Ibid., Bk. III, Ch. XXIX, p. 495.

30 Ibid., Bk. I, Ch. IV, p. 119

31 Ibid., Bk. I, Ch. XVIII, p. 168.

32 Cf. Bertrand de Jouvenel, Sovereignty: An Inquiry into the Political Good (Chicago, 1957), pp. 2122, 50–53, 299–300.Google Scholar

33 The Prince, Ch. XXIV, p. 89.Google Scholar

34 Hale, op. cit.,p. 157.Google Scholar

35 Maritain, , “The End of Machiavellianism” in Jensen (ed.), op. cit., p. 92.Google Scholar

36 The Discourses, Bk. I, Ch. XVIII, p. 171.Google Scholar

37 Ibid., Bk. I, Ch. IX, p. 139.

38 Ibid., Bk. I, Ch. LVIII, p. 265.

39 Ibid.

40 Hale, op. cit., p. 155.Google Scholar

41 Ibid., p. 32.

42 The Discourses, Bk. III, Ch. IX, pp. 442443.Google Scholar

43 Ibid., Bk. III, Ch. VIII, p. 439.

44 Ibid., Bk. III, Ch. IX, p. 442.

45 Wolin, op. cit., p. 209.Google Scholar

46 Ibid., p. 201.

47 For the critical danger and the phenomenon of corruption in developing nations, see, for example, Huntington, Samuel P., “Political Development and Political Decay,” World Politics, XVII, 3 (04 1965).Google Scholar

48 One contemporary student of politics has made this cogent observation: "the greatest leaders have [the] ability to turn situational incompatibilities into assets. Situations can be shaped by the force of the great leader to the same extent that the weak leader can be shaped by the force of situation.” Jennings, Eugene E., An Anatomy of Leadership (New York, 1960), p. 15.Google Scholar

49 It is, therefore, “the manipulation of the disagreeable Present.” Mary Matossian, “Ideologies of Delayed Industrialization: Some Tensions and Ambiguities,” Kautsky, John (ed.), Political Change in Underdeveloped Countries (New York, 1963), p. 254.Google Scholar

50 Readers may be reminded of a coarse yet apt remark on politics, especially politics of change, by a character in one of Jean-Paul Sartre's plays: …and the revolution's not a question of virtue but of effectiveness. There is no heaven. There is work to be done, that's all.

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