Your assignment is to write an essay of five or more pages, plus a work cited page. Your essay must have a title, a thesis statement, a beginning, middle, and end. I suggest you use prewriting techniques to generate ideas. 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: “…a man who wishes to make a vocation of being good at all times will come to ruin among so many who are not good. Hence it is necessary for a prince [political leader] who wishes to maintain his position to learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge or not to use it according to necessity” (670). Machiavelli seems to be arguing here that “the ends justify the means.”
Based on Machiavelli’s arguments, does former President Richard M. Nixon (as portrayed in director Oliver Stone’s film Nixon) represent a Machiavellian “Prince”? Why or why not? If your answer is “yes”, explain how Nixon exemplifies the fictional “Prince” Machiavelli writes about.
Please use examples from each of the following sources to back up your thesis:
Machiavelli’s The Prince.
Oliver Stone’s film Is President Richard M. Nixon, as portrayed in the film, a Machiavellian politician? 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 figures.
You may use other sources to support your points, but you must use the film Nixon and the excerpt from Machiavelli’s The Prince in our Barnet book as sources in your essay. On the next page is a sample works cited page using these sources. Your final draft must be typed word-processed according to the MLA style.
Relax and have fun with this assignment!
Machiavelli, Niccolo. “From The Prince.” Current Issues and Enduring Questions.
Tenth Edition. Ed. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. Boston: Bedford, 2002. 669-78. Print.
Stone, Oliver, Dir. Nixon. Perf. Anthony Hopkins, Joan Allen, Powers Booth, and Ed Harris.
Cinergi: 1995. DVD.