R E S E A R C H P A P E R
During the past week (Topic 3), we read and discussed The Prince by Machiavelli (1496-1572). Given the
current state of affairs, this text is uncannily relevant. As a “how-to” manual it offers the quintessential
compass for unethical political maneuvering. The prince doesn’t have to be good, he only has to seem to be
good. The piazza is filled with people who form a commune where reasonable exchanges of life go hand in
hand with back-biting gossip. It’s a world in which everyone knows everything about his or her neighbors. But
for those who seek to dominate the others, the need for secrecy, dissimulation, and the deliberate
withholding of information from the populace remains paramount.
In our discussions, you have shared your comments enthusiastically on the politics of the United States today
and brought your critical insights to the understanding of this early modern text. Now, you are asked to take a
step further and prepare a well-argued paper on “Sovereign Power.”
o In addition to referring to the literary text and supplemental readings shared in class, search and
include at least two scholarly articles on The Prince and its impact on politics and leaders in general.
Use the digital library resources by logging into the CUNY library using your student ID. Be sure that
your library card is up to date. Contact Charles Innis library should you encounter any difficulty in
accessing the library’s digital data sources: https://ares.mec.cuny.edu/library/
o Quote from the two or three scholarly/reliable sources as part of your evidence.
o Write a 750-word (3-page) essay in response to one of the topics and provide one separate Works
Cited page in which you list all references following the MLA style.
o Save your essay in MS WORD according to the saving convention: LastName.FirstName.EssayTitle
o Submit the essay in Module Three (3) by clicking the 3.1 Assignment link
o Papers must be typed, double-spaced in Times New Roman, size 12. Do not bold face any part of your
text. Paper should be 3-4 pages long with clear documentation in MLA style. Use a separate sheet for
Works Cited. The due date is posted in Submission and BB course folder. One digital copy should be
uploaded to the assignment folder by midnight on the due date. Late papers receive a scaled grade
reduction of 10% for two days, 20% four days and no grade thereafter. Submission will close on the
fifth day after the due date.
Topics and Directions:
Directions: Choose one of the two topics listed below. When you research scholarly articles, use the topic as
the search phrase. Start your discussion with a general description of The Prince, especially leadership
qualities. Describe what Machiavelli considers to be an ideal leader. This approach gives your reader a sense of
his work. Then dive straight into the question you are assigned. Remember, whichever question you address,
always make sure that I am NOT your reader. You must keep your audience in mind. They may not know the
work so you must make sure that they understand what you are saying with clear directions and descriptions
in the introductory paragraph.
1. Sovereign power is a requisite element in Machiavelli’s work, and it is contrasted with despotic
power. Looking at Chapter 7, how does Cesare Borgia qualify or fail as a leader with Sovereign
2. Machiavelli argues that moral and righteous people make weak political leaders; the most important
quality is the virtù of the Prince, which is better understood in Machiavelli’s work as being “of flexible
disposition” than of being virtuous.