The principles of Niccolo Machiavelli are contained in the book entitled The Prince. The modern usage of the term “Machiavellian” denotes ruthless opportunism and manipulation techniques. As a practical guide for leadership, the author of the political and philosophical discourse called the prince evolved political strategies devoid of morality. Machiavelli considers the ruler as an almost perfect archetype of bold rule.
The evidence of the prince has been felt deeply, even in the twentieth century, as evidenced by the actions of such men as Hitler, Stalin, Lenin and many other international figures.
The prince as a book of the ruling elite was written in 1512, dedicated to Lorenzo de Medici, the new ruler of Florence, and privately presented to him. Indeed, the prince is generally seen as a cool and unsentimental analysis of political power. The leadership styles advocated by Machiavelli are ruthlessness, suppression of opposition and dictatorial tendencies.
The nature of Machiavelli strategic analysis reflects in the thought popularized by him that the chief foundations of all states can be reduced to two elements: good laws and good arms, of the two, he seems to place stronger emphasis on arms. Machiavelli argues that there cannot be good laws where there are not good arms.
The book also points out that the good will of the populace is extremely important basis of support for the leader. But it must be made clear that their welfare depends on his leadership and not vice versa. Machiavelli clearly emphasized that principle that power grows out of the dependence of others.
In his analysis, Machiavelli is of the opinion that a leader must be both feared and loved, but as it is difficult for the two to go together, it is much safer to be feared than loved.
Since it is recommended by Machiavelli in The Prince that a wise ruler needs to involve ministers in the administration of the state, the selection and the appointment should be done carefully. A good leader must select ministers who are completely loyal and devoted to him. And he should always reward loyalty.
Niccolo Machiavelli also advocates that power should be acquired by whatever means. In the book, Machiavelli opines that the end justifies the means.
While analyzing the power game, Machiavelli suggests that for a ruler to maintain the state, he is often obliged to act against faith, against charity, against humanity and against religion. He must therefore “have a mind disposed to adapt itself according to the wind, and as the variations of fortune dictate”
Machiavelli’s continuing significance is achieved by the existing social realities, prevalence of violence politics, popularity of military diplomacy and arms struggle as major factors influencing international politics.