Machiavelli’s Political Philosophy: Analysis of Its Substance and Contemporary Relevance

  • Ayodele Olalekan Shotunde
Keywords: Machiavellianism, Political Power, New–States


This essay interrogates politics as an interest-driven game through the lens of Niccolo di Bernardo Machiavelli’s idea of political power. It also analyses the contemporary relevance of Machiavelli’s political ideas, especially as they apply to new states. The new states are those states that generally possess multiple ethnic and religious backgrounds created by the erstwhile colonialists. The crux of the essay lies in a critical evaluation of the relevance of Machiavelli’s ideas to contemporary politics, especially the new states that began a new experiment in political development after the end of colonial domination. Politics is perceived as a game in which interests clash and political leaders attempt to establish stability amid conflicting interests. This reality is captured in the ideas of Machiavelli, whose works in political philosophy created the ideological ground for the emergence of Machiavellianism. The concept of Machiavellianism was a bold case of politics as a game within the Western tradition. In his book entitled The Prince, Machiavelli admonishes that the nitty-gritty of a ruler is the preservation and stability of the State as well as the preservation of himself in power. Also, he argues that a ruler should do everything possible to preserve himself in power. Again, he exclaims that a ruler is entitled to use any means to attain this end. The reason being that it is the end that counts, the means used to attain it is inconsequential. In this work, I argue that the contemporary relevance of Machiavelli’s conception of political power is visibly present in the new–states like Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Malaysia and others. The application of Machiavellianism has had its positive aspects, but some leaders have used it to promote narrow interests with a devastating impact on their respective States.

Keywords: Machiavellianism, Political Power, New–States


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eISSN: 1596-5031