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The End Justifies The Means?:Machevilli Essay, Research Paper

?The End Justifies the Means?

Niccolo Machiavelli served as a secretary and diplomat of the Florentine Republic. While he served Machiavelli wrote a book, The Prince, in 1513 which assisted political leaders to maintain power by any means necessary (Machiavelli 1). Machiavelli?s theory, the end justifies the means, has been used by political leaders in the present which has caused some disastrous affects. Adolph Hitler and Joseph McCarthy used this theory and this led to their personal downfall, and Saddam Hussien also used this idea and his country is now in shambles. This idea has been proven harmful to the country that uses it, therefor this idea should not be applied.

Adolph Hitler?s rule over Germany left it in ruins. Hitler tried to destroy the Jewish people to make a ?perfect race? and take over Europe. One of Hitler?s reasons for killing Jews was because according to him they caused World War I and to unify Europe (Duffy, x). The extermination of six million Jewish people in order for him to take control of Europe gave Hitler more support from the German people because it gave the Germans a scapegoat that took the blame off them of World War I. His concept that the end justifies the means did not help him keep power but just helped in his downfall. After World War II and Hitler?s death the world realized that the killing of all these people was not justifiable in keeping power, there for Machiavelli?s theory did not help Hitler keep his power.

A Senator named Joseph McCarthy caused a panic over Communism in the government by declaring Communists had infiltrated the U. S. State Department. Many of those accused by McCarthy were in the literary or entertainment fields and were “blacklisted” and unable to find work (Friedman). His accusations caused political, governmental, and social turmoil that did not help the country at all. His accusations had little or no evidence to back them up (Friedman). McCarthy thought that accusing blindly would help the country by ending the presence of communists in the government, but it only caused his downfall from the government and problems. His accusations of government officials caused that he be removed as a chairman of the subcommittee and to be censured be the Senate on a vote of 67 to 22 (Friedman). His paranoia led to many innocent people to be accused and be humiliated because he wanted to end communism.

Saddam Hussein, the leader of Iraq, invaded Kuwait in the late 1980s for its rich supply of oil (Haddad). Iraq was greatly hurt economically and militarily by this invasion. Kuwait was also greatly hurt economically, because when Iraqi soldiers set many oil wells on fire, which cost Kuwait about two billion dollars per month on oil loss (Haddad). Saddam thought more land and oil would justify deaths of thousands of his soldiers and other countries that fought against him. Also, by lighting the oil wells on fire damaged the environment, there was no need of lighting these wells. His probable reason for lighting them was because of revenge.

The idea, ? the end justifies the means,? has proven in most cases to be harmful to the country or individual that applies it to their method of ruling. Machiavelli intended for this particular idea to be used to keep political power, but has proven to be the opposite, causing the downfall of those who use it. Hitler, Stalin, and McCarthy, all lost their political power or caused the downfall of their country.

1. Duffy, James P. Hitler Slept Late and Other Blunders that Cost Him the War. New York: Praeger, 1991.

2. Friedman, Jesse. ?The Fight For America: Senator Joseph McCarthy.?1996,1997, 1999.Writing Collections. http://www.sirius.com/~mcjester/writings/joemccart – hy.html.

3. Machiavelli, Niccolo. ?The Prince.? LEGACY OF THE WEST. ed. David B. Mock. New York: Harpers Collins College Publishers, 1996. (handout)

4. Haddad, Toufic. ?The Middle East and the United States: An Unpleasant Tale of Irony, Hypocrisy , and Misunderstanding.? 1996. Trincoll Journal. http://www.trincoll.edu/zines/tj/tj9.19.96/articles/cover.html.


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