To a society autocratically. 20th century pop

To most in familiarity with the
name, Machiavelli or “Machiavellianism” as a whole represents a merciless
doctrine predicated on cold calculation. His signature work “The Prince”, is
often seen as a ‘blueprint’ for how authoritarian dictators may gain and
maintain positional power through means of ultimate control. By definition
(Merriam-Webster), the term Machiavellianism is defined as “principle of
conduct…marked by cunning, duplicity, or bad faith.”1 This
interpretation of Machiavellianism was also aptly described by Harvey Mansfield
in his introduction to his translation of ‘The Prince’, writing “The essence of
this politics is that ‘you can get away with murder’: that no divine sanction,
or degradation of soul, or twinge of conscience will come to punish you.”2
This (arguably) limited viewpoint paints the image of The Prince as something
only analogous to a sort of cruel and unceasing form of power; which to be fair
was Machiavelli’s intent in certain contexts. Machiavelli originally wrote The
Prince as a gift to notorious Florentine ruler Lorenzo de’ Medici, who had
freshly seized dictatorial power in overthrowing the late Florentine Republic3.
Despite Machiavelli’s personal preference for the previous Republic government,
he nonetheless valued leader’s ability to lead a society autocratically.

20th century pop culture
has also played a role in this modern conception of the Prince. For example, the
classic one man play/adapted movie “A Bronx Tale” pays homage to Machiavelli
when protagonist Sonny, a feared mafia leader, explains to a young apprentice
how Machiavelli’s teachings had manifested into his psyche during his rise to
power, stating how “”The people in this neighborhood that see me every
day, that are on my side, they feel safe because they know I’m close. That
gives them more reason to love me. But the people that want to do otherwise,
they think twice. That gives them more reason to fear me.” He further ties in a
comparison between being loved, being hated, being needed and provoking fear, 

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