Western Civilization to 1650

Term Paper Questions:  

Write a short paper (4-5 pages typed, double-spaced, 12 point font, with 1-inch margins) using as your main source Machiavelli's The Prince.. 

In The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli offered "humble advice" to Lorenzo (Giuliano) de Medici, the ruler of Florence. According to Machiavelli, a successful Prince must rule as an autocrat and sometimes must behave ruthlessly for the best interests of the State, but he must never act as a tyrant.  To defend his arguments, Machiavelli made many references to the history of the ancient world as well to recent events of the late 1400s and early 1500s.  As you know from your readings, Machiavelli was writing at a time of foreign (French and Spanish) dominance over the Italian city-states.  He himself had been as supporter of a republican form of government (and not of the rule of a prince), and he had served as a government official in the Florentine Republic.  He wrote The Prince after the Medici family had overthrown the Florentine Republic and restored themselves to princely power.

Your paper must be based upon detailed analysis of the evidence in The Prince.  That means that you must refer to specific evidence in The Prince that supports your answer.  You must cite the source of all quotations and well as all specific paraphrased or summarized information from the readings using endnotes.

To write a good paper, you must consider how evidence in The Prince is related to information in Coffin, the lectures, and any related documents from the Brophy reader.  But you do not have to read any additional essays or books; if you do read any additional sources, you must list these in a bibliography at the end of the paper (this includes any internet sites).

My primary concern is the accuracy, clarity, and logic of your answer, which will account for 90 percent of your grade.  I also will base 10 percent of your grade on use of proper grammar, punctuation, and endnote form.



Be sure that you paper has an introductory paragraph that lets the reader know what your main question is and what your main point is.  (Your main point is also called your thesis.)  The main point should be a logical statement that answers the question.  The reader should know what your thesis is by the end of your introductory paragraph.

To explain and prove your main points, break it down into several "sub- ideas" and provide evidence to prove these ideas.  That is the function of the body paragraphs in your paper.  Be sure that each paragraph in the body of your paper is devoted to explaining a single main idea (one main idea per paragraph).  That main idea should help us understand your thesis.  Each paragraph needs to include evidence about that main idea (to illustrate or prove your point), and you must explain what the evidence means (don't assume that it is obvious).

Be sure that you end your paper with a concluding paragraph that sums up you main ideas and makes clear how all of these ideas add up to your main point (thesis), and how your main point answers the main question of your paper.



Pick one of these questions:

1.   Much of the advice Machiavelli gives in The Prince regards the difference between successful and unsuccessful means of ruling over "conquered" peoples. 


2.  The Prince was a product of the Renaissance, a period in which European thinkers "rediscovered" the history of the ancient world; how does Machiavelli's interpretation of ancient history (written in 1514) compare to what we have read in the Coffin textbook (circa 2000)?  


3.  Although when it was first published The Prince did not get a great deal of attention, critics soon denounced the book; Catholic critics saw the book as an attack on the Catholic Church, Protestant critics saw the book as justifying Catholic rule, and both groups condemned Machiavelli's arguments as "immoral."