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Posted on May 7th, 2014, by

Machiavelli underline that the leader could be cruel but he should be just in his attitude to his people because the unequal attitude to people could provoke the opposition and disobedience which could not be overcome even with the help of the cruelest measures of the injustice of the leader reached its apogee. On the other hand, Machiavelli indicated to the maintenance of face of the leader. To put it more precisely, the philosopher insisted in his work that the leader should have a positive public image and should be accepted as a just, though not obligatory as a good person (221).

Anti-Machiavel develops the idea of a different type of the leader and ruler. In fact, Anti-Machiavel promotes the idea of an enlightened monarch, who is rational and benevolent. The ideal ruler should maintain the health and prosperity of his subjects. Therefore he should take care of his subjects instead of manipulating them as Machiavelli suggested in his Prince. In such a way, Frederick rejected the concept of the cruel but just king developed by Machiavelli. Instead, he suggested the new type of the king, who is rational and benevolent and who takes care of health and well-being of his subjects.

Anti-Machiavel is the product of the Enlightenment and mirrors the change in views on the leader and monarch. At the same time, this work slips to the idealization of the monarch, which has little in common with the real life. However, such a change in the Enlightenment epoch was natural because the power of the monarch was challenged as monarchs could not oppress their people. They should be rational to maintain order in their kingdoms. Otherwise, they could provoke turmoil that could lead to disastrous effects. In the Enlightenment era, cruelty could not keep people in the fear and obedience anymore.

In such a way, real-life monarchs were often somewhere in between The Prince and Anti-Machiavel ideals. In fact, some monarchs tried to match either ideal but, in actuality, the real life was quite different from the ideals developed by Machiavelli and Frederick. At this point, it is important to understand that Machiavelli and Frederick were vulnerable to the impact of changes that occurred in the society in their time as well as to the impact of the dominant culture and traditions. obvisouly, the existing socioeconomic and political system could not inspire Machiavelli to create an ideal of the enlightened king and, on the contrary, the epoch of Enlightenment and respective socioeconomic and political changes could not inspire Frederick the Great to create the Machiavellian ideal of the king. Instead, Frederick attempted to create a progressive ideal of the monarch, who cares of the well-being of his subjects.

In fact, Frederick views the king as a sort of father for his subjects, whereas Machiavelli views the king as a commander-in-chief, whose primary duty is to be able to lead the war successfully and to win. Moreover, Machiavelli’s ideal of the kind admitted the use of the principle that ends justify means that implies that the king could manipulate with his subjects and scheme to win and to maintain order in his kingdom. The main point of the king, according to Machiavelli, is to preserve his power and to maintain order in the society. To reach this goal, the king can use any means, which may vary from reward to punishment and vice versa. At the same time, the king should demonstrate his justice and prudence to make his subjects to respect him. Otherwise, subjects may rebel against the king and his rule will fail as he will be unable to keep his subjects under control.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that The Prince by Machiavelli and Anti-Machiavel by Frederick reveal the transformation of views of people living in the different time on the political power and monarchs. Both authors created their ideal vision of the monarch, which mirrored socioeconomic and political reality of their time. In fact, they just conducted the in-depth analysis of key trends in the socioeconomic and political life and suggested their vision of the ideal monarch. Remarkably, they created absolutely different monarchs. Machiavelli idealized cruel but just king, whose main virtue was his ability to win the war, while his attitude to his subjects should be driven by the only goal to keep his subjects under control. Machiavelli admitted the use of cruel methods of control, which the king could combine with certain rewards but the king should always keep his subjects under control, while his only purpose was to reign and to maintain his power. In contrast to such authoritarian and cruel king, Frederick suggested the enlightened monarch, who was rational and benevolent. Frederick insisted that the king should take care of his subjects and maintain their health and well-being. However, ideals developed by Machiavelli and Frederick had little in common with the real life because real monarchs had to use diverse tools to maintain their power and they could not separate their interests from those of their nations because they were rulers, who were responsible for their nations but they exploited their subjects for their own benefits and well-being.

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