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Machiavelli- President Reagan

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Elise Dunham

on 10 December 2012

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Transcript of Machiavelli- President Reagan

President Reagan I don't believe President Reagan to be a Machiavellian leader because he was an United States leader and in the US we have strict rules against lying. Yes, he did focus a lot on war because he was the commander in chief of the military, but he shied away from it and ended the Cold War with the Soviet Union. He believed in peace through strength and strengthened our economy to do so. By the end of his two terms in office he was a well loved president. President Reagan lasted two terms because he continued to have what the human race wanted and knew how to keep us intrigued and wanting more from him. He had us bound to him by fear, not obligation; and our fear was of going back into a time of recession, not of being beheaded if we were to go against him. Machiavelli's Ideal Leader Is President Reagan a Machiavellian leader? Machiavelli believes that leaders should focus on war, know how to cover their wrong, lie, not trust human nature, and be feared rather than loved. Connections from Machiavelli to Reagan Connections from Machiavelli to Reagan cont. Machiavelli states, "The prince ought to have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else for his study than war and its rules and discipline..." President Reagan does not do this because as Republican President during a recession, he was expected to improve the economy, lessen taxes and the need for government intervention, and keep our soldiers home. This is a much larger work load and responsibility than focusing solely on war.
Machiavelli also states, "Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed they are yours entirely;" He then goes on to say that if you cannot provide our need, then we will leave you and go to where it is provided. The citizens need was a better economy. President Reagan had achieved that need and was continuing to feed it with the Reagan Revolution. He kept his power because of the citizens fear of going back into a recession if we got a new leader.
Work Cited Beschloss, Michael, and Hugh Sidey. "Ronald Reagan". The


<http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/ronaldreagan> President Ronald Reagan Niccolo Machiavelli v.s. Focus on War He believes leaders should, "ought to have no other aim or though, nor select anything else for his study, than war and its rules and discipline; for this is the sole art that belongs to him who rules, and it is of such force that is not only upholds those who are born princes, but it often enables men to rise from a private station to that rank." This basically says that whether or not you were born a ruler, if you focus on war and know its effects, then you can be a good leader. How to do Wrong Another thing a leader should know, is they should know how to cover up their wrong. He states, "It is necessary for a prince wishing to hold his own to know how to do wrong and to make use of it...I say that all men when they are spoken of, and chiefly princes for being more highly placed, are remarkable for some of those qualities which bring them either blame or praise; and thus it is that one is reputed liberal, another miserly...;one faithless another faithful...every one will confess that it would be most praiseworthy in a prince to exhibit all the above qualities that are considered good;...for human conditions do not permit it, it is necessary for him to be sufficiently prudent that he may know how to avoid the reproach of those vices which would loose him his state..."All summed up, this is telling us a leader should know to be wrong at the right time and cover up his wrong doings so he can keep his power because human nature does not allow us to be perfect. Don't Trust Human Nature Which leads us into Machiavelli's next point, of human nature should not be trusted. "Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you successes they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life, and children, as it is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you." In this excerpt Machiavelli is explaining how humans are picky, greedy, and selfish creatures who follow their own need. If you don't have it, we leave you. Fear Rather Than Love If you do not want to be left then, "it is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with...And that prince, who relying entirely on their promises, is ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments, may indeed be earned, but they are not secured, and in time of need cannot be relied upon; and men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserved you by a dread of punishment which never fails...a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred...will always be as along as he abstains from the property of his citizens and subjects and from their women." All in all Machiavelli wants a smart leader that knows who and what to trust, as well as how to run his state. In my opinion, President Ronald Reagan is not a Machiavellian leader. Lying Part of doing wrong, is lying. Machiavelli clearly says that, "Nor does a prince ever lack legitimate cause to color his failure to observe faith...But it is necessary to know well how to be a great pretender and dissembler; and men are so simple and so obedient to present necessities that he who deceives will always find someone who will let himself be deceived." He is telling his leaders that they always have a reason to lie, and to lie without being discovered they have to act fake as if they are telling the truth because there will always be someone willing to believe a lie. Watkins, Thayer. "The U.S. Recession of 1980-1982".San José State University Department of Economics. 9 Dec. 2012
<http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/rec1980.htm> White House. 2009. White House Historical Association. 5 Dec. 2012 Directly connected to that fear, was love for President Reagan. He was loved because he brought America out of one of the worst recessions after World War II, he ended the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and he cut back taxes. During his presidency the first female Supreme Court Justice was sworn in, signaling the rise of females in a mans world. Machiavelli only ever mentioned men, because women leaders are very new and go against what was believed for centuries.
Another major Machiavellian point is the right to lie, "Nor does a prince ever lack legitimate causes to color his failure to observe faith..." As a president of the United States you do not lie to your followers because then you will not be trusted and only trusted leaders are looked at in good light and re-elected. That is why the 40th presided of the United States of America, President Ronald Reagan, is not a Niccolo Machiavellian leader. “Chronology of Ronald Reagan’s Presidency, 1979-89.” Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. 18 May 2005 (accessed 9 Dec. 2012)
<http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/reference/preschrono.html>
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