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The Machiavellianism Theory’s Application to Slavery

The discipline of social sciences is widely used to denote the way individuals behave within a society, differentiating the morally accepted behaviors that are mostly referred to as immoral. Those individuals occupying certain leadership positions are prone to being dictators and thus many of them would be vulnerable to leading in a corrupt way. Machiavellianism theory expounds on the use of unscrupulous ways to lead other people and thus they would later be involved in using adverse acts such as punishing the subjects and also being dishonest to the people they lead. Machiavellianism theory was developed by an Italian politician, Niccolò Machiavelli, who advocated for a leadership style that would be characterized by acts of deception, unscrupulous acts, dishonesty, and being in the state of expediency. Frederick Douglass encountered leaders who were not in the effort of gaining a good reputation, but they were always willing to act in unscrupulous ways. He feared his master more than he respected and loved him. The political arena has been characterized by behaviors that later oppress society, leading to several societal sectors’ stunted growth. Machiavellian leadership ideas were greatly utilized by slavery masters as described by Frederic Douglass, who was able to escape slavery in America. Therefore, this paper examines the how the Machiavellianism theory of leadership were applied to slavery and also in the story of Jhon Singleton in his “The Peach Tree” poem.

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The slave masters would not allow people like Frederick to have a chance to read some written texts even during free time, thus being cruel as advocated by Machiavelli. However, Frederick would later utilize any of his free time to read some texts which empowered him to escape from the hands of slavery. “And having taken this for his opportunity, he had him placed in the square in Cesena, one morning, in two pieces with a piece of wood and bloody knife beside him. The ferocity of which spectacle left those peoples at once satisfied and stupefied” (Douglass, 348). As stated by the Prince in his theory, the colonial masters would be fierce, and they would not wish to let the slaves have even a chance to read and gain knowledge about slavery. On the other hand, Jhon Singleton, in his work of “The Peach Tree”, unveils racial matters as he discusses Chastity, a girl who is originally from the black community. Therefore, in the societies depicted by Frederick Douglas, Jhon Singleton and Prince Machiavelli of France discuss the morality that rulers should possess to rule. A ruler should thus be widely feared than being loved to lead society towards the right path some of the times through acts such as punishment.

Frederick Douglass and his Master Hugh’s family related to each other as slaves and a master for seven years. The most important episode that Frederick experienced in his Master’s house was to read and write. As a young boy, Frederick loved reading texts about slavery and how the masters treated their subjects. During the time when slavery was widespread in American, blacks and other immigrant groups were more held as slaves and they would be induced in harsh treatment, who would advance several types of punishments. Being encouraged by a Columbian Orator, Frederick later ran away from his slave master and he escaped to New York form Baltimore. He became one of the most influential public speakers who would talk more about slavery, hence condemning his previous colonial masters. He worked under poor conditions as a slave, and he would also receive gross mistreatments as they were too harsh on slaves. As Machiavellianism states, “men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for everyone can see and few can feel. Everyone sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are,” (Douglass, 348). The colonial masters would not think of Frederick becoming a free man, who later would condemn them, as they judged him as a slave.

On the other hand, The Peach Tree by Jhon Singleton discloses Robin and his life encounters with his wife Florence and his beautiful daughter, Chastity. Robin’s love for Chastity was great, and she also loved him because he was a caring and loving father. Chastity is described as being loved by many people, and they all wish to adopt her for she looks pretty good and lovely. Robin relates with her daughter, so many people are astonished by their relationship, and Chastity longs to receive an expensive and good gift from her dad. Robin is assured of his wife, Florence, in taking care of her daughter, and he undertakes several journey trips with her. His relation with his family can be described as a good example to be emulated in society (Singleton, 43). The relationship between Florence and Chastity is assured as Florence, before getting married to Robin, spent her time with kids. Therefore, Robin trusted his wife in taking care for Chastity. He proposed to her, not only because she was pretty looking but because she looked hopeless, in her age, considering that she was not married.

The relation between Robin and his wife can be emulated by the other couples in society they lived. As Prince describes, a man ought to make a sacrifice for all that he wants to live in, although it might later lead to the destruction of other individuals, “because how one ought to live is so far removed from how one lives that he who lets go of what is done for that which one ought to do sooner learns ruin than his own preservation. A man who might want to make a show of goodness in all things necessarily comes to ruin among so many who are not good. Because of this, it is necessary for a prince, wanting to maintain himself, to learn how to be able to be not good and to use this and not use it according to necessity,” (Douglass, 349). This goes further the demonstrate the Machiavellian principle of dark triad that success often comes to people who focus more on their own interests to manipulate, deceive and exploit others.

On the other hand, the story of Frederick Douglass and his Master would only be described by the leadership styles described by Machiavelli. The masters were administering punishment, and, thus their reputation was bad. They could administer punishment as the only way to make their subjects fear them, and they would act in evil ways many times, thus making their subjects loyal. Since then, slave masters have been condemned many times by social reformers such as Frederick Douglass. They were not good at all, and they would lead many immoral behaviors, such as being dishonest and being authoritarian all their days. Therefore, people like Frederick Douglass would not spare their evil acts, as he was once a prisoner, and thus he kept revealing the evils acts done by the slave masters to their subjects.

Machiavellianism expounds on the leadership styles being adopted by the authoritarian leaders. Leaders would induce punishments, and in most cases, they would torture their slaves. They were not concerned with a good reputation, but only gain profits form exploiting slaves under poor working conditions. Frederick was once a slave but later became a free man after fleeing from his slave master, due to the inspiration he gained by reading a Columbian book that talked more about the evils of slavery. He later condemned their evils acts, as he later became a famous public speaker on social issues such as slavery and its adverse effects. The acts of the white masters can greatly compare to the leadership ideas being advocated by Machiavelli.

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Works Cited

Abrams, Mike. “Machiavelli’s The Prince: A Summary with Quotations.” EMachiavelli, 2014, Web.

Douglass, Frederick. “Learning to read and write.” 50 Essays, A Portable Anthology (1994): 2004-100.

Singleton, Jhon. “The Peach Tree.” 41- 56. An Ars Poetica: Finding Substance in the Narrative After? 1st ed., , S.C.: CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC.201 8: S.C.: Create Space, a DBA of On-Demand.

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