POLITICAL THEORY - Niccolò Machiavelli

How to Understand Machiavellianism


  1. The definition of Machiavellian or Machiavellianism is "the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct".Remember this, a machiavellian should live by this as a quote for life.
  2. The best place to start is The prince, Machiavelli's seminal work, and where the idea of Machiavellianism derives.
  3. Do some research on both Machiavelli and the times.Understand the context which Machiavellianism rose is vital, hint Machiavelli lived during the reign of the Medici family in Florence and was exiled by them.
  4. Some believe Machiavelli to be an evil advisor who would encourage the rulers to use torture and other methods to keep power.Read Prince twice, once looking at it as if this is your advisor and you are king.
  5. Others believe the prince is a clever piece of satire, as it is written in Italian not Latin.Read the Prince a second time looking at the piece as satire, think to yourself which is more so, advice or satire.
  6. Machiavellianism was seen as a foreign virus infecting English politics, originating in Italy, and having already infected France.It was in this context that the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572 in Paris came to be seen as a product of Machiavellianism, a view greatly influenced by the Huguenots. Read up upon the Huguenots and France, how the french monarchy used machiavellian tactics when dealing with the Huguenots.
  7. In psychology; Machiavellianism is a term that some social and personality psychologists use to describe a person's tendency to deceive and manipulate others for personal gain.Remember that it can also mean this, although it is very similar to the original.
  8. In the 1960s, Richard Christie and Florence L.Geis developed a test for measuring a person's level of Machiavellianism.The test is called the Mach-IV test and consists of twenty questions, used to determine one's Machiavellian rating.Go here and have a look:
  9. Those scoring above 60 out of a 100 are high Mach's, who endorse statements like, you should only tell the truth if it is in your own interest.
  10. Machiavellianism is one of the three personality traits referred to as the dark triad, along with narcissism and psychopathy, some go so far as to say it is a sub-clinical form of psychopathy.Read up upon the Psychology of Machiavellianism to try to understand what Mach's mind might have been like.
  11. Read about modern Machiavellians and what they have written.Than Shwe-Burmese General, Wen Jiabao-Chinese premier, Lord Mandelson-British Politician and Lord.Note all three have power without being subject to the people. Than Shwe a general who holds power by force, Wen Jiabo, leader in a one party state and Mandy in the house of Lords, an unelected position of power in government.
  12. Read about old Machiavellians like Pol Pot-Cambodian dictator, Stalin-Russian former General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Chairman Mao-First communist leader of China.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    What is Machiavellianism?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Machiavellianism is about lying and manipulating a situation to the benefit of yourself. It makes you feel good to belittle and torture others while advancing your own warped thinking.
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  • If you consider yourself a proponent of Machiavellianism, be forewarned that many will not take lightly to this. It is not advised to make this very public, for your safety and security.
  • There will always be people who can see through your lies, but they're little. Don't waste your time trying to find a mastermind.


  • If you're not good at lying, then you're going to get caught.
  • Even if you're great at lying, it's very likely that someone else is great at noticing, too. Given the nature of some Machiavellian schemes, they might not always provide you the courtesy of such a clue in return.

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Date: 08.12.2018, 01:02 / Views: 91184