Nixon and Machiavelli

Your assignment is to write a Final Draft essay of five to seven pages, in addition to a works cited page. Please write an essay in which you analyze the excerpt from Niccolo Machiavelli’s book, The Prince, that appears in our Barnet book. The purpose of an analytical essay is to divide a topic into several sections in order to give the reader a better understanding of it. Machiavelli’s thesis is this: “. . . it is necessary for a prince [political leader] wishing to hold his own to know how to do wrong, and to make use of it or not according to necessity” (644). Machiavelli seems to be arguing here that “the ends justify the means” (although he never actually uses this phrase in The Prince).

Based on Niccolo Machiavelli’s arguments, does the character of President Richard M. Nixon in director Oliver Stone’s film Nixon represent a Machiavellian “Prince”? Why or why not? If your answer is “yes,” explain how Nixon’s words and actions illustrate the advice Machiavelli offers to political leaders.

 

You may use other sources to support your points, but you must use the film Nixon (Links to an external site.) and the excerpt from Machiavelli’s The Prince 

 

Download Machiavelli’s The Prince

in our Barnet book as sources in your essay. Below is a sample works cited list using these sources. Your final draft must be word-processed according to the MLA style.

  1. Use prewriting techniques to generate ideas (based on the guidelines in this prompt),
  2. Write a final draft in which you analyze the excerpt from Niccolo Machiavelli’s book, The Prince, that appears in our Barnet book. Your essay must have a title, a thesis statement, a beginning, middle, and end.
  3. Divide Machiavelli’s argument into several sections in order to give your audience a better understanding of it. Machiavelli’s thesis is this: “. . . it is necessary for a prince [political leader] wishing to hold his own to know how to do wrong, and to make use of it or not according to necessity” (644). Machiavelli seems to be arguing here that “the ends justify the means” (although he never actually uses this phrase in The Prince),
  4. Please use examples from each of the following sources to support your thesis:
    • Machiavelli’s The Prince.
    • Oliver Stone’s film Is President Richard M. Nixon, as portrayed in the film, a Machiavellian politician? You may argue for or against Machiavelli and/or Nixon, if you wish. If you are arguing against Machiavelli, you may use examples of Nixon’s failures (such as the Watergate scandal and the bombing of Cambodia) to support your argument. If you are arguing in favor of Machiavelli, you may use examples of Nixon’s successes (such as the opening of friendly relations with China) to support your thesis.
    • Your own knowledge of politics and politicians. You may include information on the historical Richard M. Nixon, and/or other historical or contemporary leaders (such as President Donald Trump).
  5. Title and save your final draft to a desktop or laptop computer,
  6. Click Submit Assignment on the top right to upload your assignment,
  7. Click Choose File to upload your file submission,
  8. Click Submit Assignment to submit.

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