Is Napoleon Bonaparte Machiavellian in Nature

Length: 4 Pages 877 Words

In 1513, Niccolo Machiavelli wrote a piece of work called, "The Prince". It was written to all principalities, and that which is parallel to what Machiavelli suggests is often referred to as being "Machiavellian". The purpose of this essay is to ask the question "Is Napoleon Bonaparte Machiavellian in Nature?" By the evidence found from Napoleon's life and accomplishments it can said that he was not Machiavellian in nature, which can be demonstrated by numerous accounts as well as some suggested characteristics given by Machiavelli, to support this theory. This essay will take a look at Napoleon's leadership skills, his beliefs and ideals, as well as his personality that made him a great political figure. These aspects of Napoleon's persona give a description of how his character was different from that in Machiavelli's "The Prince". In the area of leadership, Napoleon had many qualities that set him apart from the rest. Napoleon was a great leader but at times his people hated him. Machiavelli believed that, "… one cannot call it virtue to kill one's citizens, betray one's friends, to he without faith, without mercy, without religion; these modes can enable one to acquire an empire, but not glory." Napoleon's goal w Continue...


Another example of his leadership and how it is different from being Machiavellian is how his whole life he had no friends and how he was never close to his subjects. Machiavelli said, " It remains now to see what the modes and government of a prince should be with subjects and with friends. The area of Napoleon's beliefs and ideals also has insight into what kind of leader and person he was. For example, when Napoleon was done attacking Portugal for refusing to go along with the Continental System, he thought since he was there he might as well take over Spain as well. In conclusion, Napoleon halfway succeeded in his take over of France. The aspects of leadership, beliefs and ideals, as well as personality are all important for a leader to have. Even though Machiavelli said, "... it is much safer to be feared, then loved, if one has to lack one of the two. as to seize power for himself, and the cry's of his people were drowned out for his own pursuit of power. Machiavelli stated, "... it is very natural and ordinary to desire to acquire, and always, when men do it who can, they will be praised and not blamed; but when they cannot, and want to do it anyway, here lie the error and the blame. Napoleon sought after glorification for himself, an example of this is when Napoleon was first exiled he returned to France and betrayed his country just so he could gain back his power, although he did not succeed. "Thus it is not necessary for a prince to have all the above mentioned qualities in fact, but it is indeed necessary to appear to have them. The final area of Napoleon's behavior is his personality. Another illustration of Napoleon's beliefs and, or ideals was, instead of appearing to have Machiavellian characteristics, Napoleon actually had them. " Napoleon was actually a feared leader and thought of people as disposable but Machiavelli only said to appear to have these traits.