por Niccoló Machiavelli
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The Bill of Rights
- James Madison
Adopted December 15th, 1791, “The Bill of Rights” refers to the first ten amendments made to the United States Constitution. This document grants and secures a number of freedoms for the federal government, the states, and for U.S. citizens.Pair the Bill of Rights with this excerpt from “The Prince” to illustrate the difference between a monarchy and democracy. Why can Americans generally feel that they can live without fear of their government?
Excerpts from Leviathan
- Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1697) was an English philosopher, best known for his political philosophy. In this famous work, Hobbes discusses the concept of the “social contract,” the idea that humans benefit from a common rule of law; otherwise, they fall into disorder and violence. In social contract theory, Hobbes proposes that humans consent to surrender some of their freedoms in order to secure their remaining rights.Pair the excerpts from "Leviathan" with this excerpt from “The Prince” to continue the discussion about the role of the monarch.
The Stanford Prison Experiment
- Saul McLeod
The Stanford Prison Experiment was conducted by Phillip Zimbardo in 1971. By organizing an exercise that simulated prison life, Zimbardo intended to discover how quickly people conformed to the roles of guard and prisoner. While many people thought that brutality reported among American prison guards had to do with personalities, some thought it had to do with the prison environment.Pair the "Stanford Prison Experiment" with this excerpt from “The Prince” to further show how power corrupts. Use this discussion prompt: Were the Stanford Prison guards Machiavellian?
Thomas Jefferson on Shays' Rebellion
- Thomas Jefferson
In this 1787 letter, Jefferson writes to a friend about Shays’ Rebellion, an armed uprising that took place in Massachusetts because of increasing dissatisfaction with State and Federal government. He argues that rebellion is necessary for the preservation of democratic societies.Pair “Thomas Jefferson on Shay’s Rebellion” with “Excerpt from The Prince” and ask students to compare how each writer thinks about rebellion and power.
On the Doctrine of the Feeling of Power
- Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was a German philosopher whose work has greatly influenced Western modern philosophy. This passage discusses Nietzsche's concept of the “will to power” (German: der Wille zur Macht), the main desire and driving force in humans.Pair “Excerpt from The Prince” with “On the Doctrine of the Feeling of Power” and ask students to compare the texts. Do they share any similar themes or ideas? On what do they differ?
Trujillo & the Mirabal Sisters
- Mike Kubic
In “Trujillo & the Mirabal Sisters,” Mike Kubic explores Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo’s rule from 1930 to 1961, before the oppressed people of his nation would no longer stand for his regime.Pair this excerpt from “The Prince” with “Trujillo & the Mirabal Sisters” and ask students to compare Trujillo’s approach to leadership with the philosophy of Niccoló Machiavelli.
Watergate: Undoing a President
“Watergate: Undoing a President” is an informational text that explains how the Watergate scandal snowballed from a minor burglary of the DNC headquarters to the first resignation of an American president.Pair “Watergate: Undoing a President” with “Excerpt from the Prince” and ask students to discuss how Nixon’s presidency and persona fits within Machiavelli’s rules for governance.
Russia's Last Czar, Nicholas II
- Mike Kubic
This informational text details the tragic rise and fall of the last czar, or emperor, of imperial Russia: Nicholas II.Pair “Excerpt from The Prince” with “Russia’s Last Czar, Nicholas II” and ask students to discuss how Machiavelli’s ideas may be applied to the historical context of the second passage. How was cruelty used to retain power — for both the Romanovs and the revolutionaries? Is this right? When and in what ways did this method fail?
- Mike Kubic
In “Napoleon Bonaparte: Revolutionary or Tyrant?” the passage recounts the life and legacy of the infamous French dictator and emperor.Pair “Excerpt from The Prince” with “Napoleon Bonaparte: Revolutionary or Tyrant?” and ask students to apply the ideas of the former to their discussion of the latter. Did Napoleon utilize ideas and techniques similar to those presented in Machiavelli’s work? How did Napoleon and Machiavelli approach the concepts of power, cruelty, and justice?