The Discourses Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. According to Machiavelli, how did the Agrarian Laws violate the foundation of well-ordered Republics?

2. What does Machiavelli identify as the easiest way to "...ruin a Republic where the People have authority...."

3. What are reasons Machiavelli cited for a group of people leaving their native country to seek a new home?

4. Considering Machiavelli's praise for the example of how Nobles manipulated the opportunity for Plebes to select their peers for positions of influence, who is the clear intended audience of "The Discourses"?

5. In defending his view that Roman Dictators served their city well, what phrase does Machiavelli use to explain how the Caesars absorbed their power?

Short Essay Questions

1. What examples from history does Machiavelli claim offers guidance to leaders?

2. What are the three types of state that Machiavelli detailed and by what name are they known today?

3. What two methods did Machiavelli identify that Roman Nobility drew honor from the Plebes?

4. What are the reasons that Machiavelli gives for people who leave their home country for another out of necessity?

5. What kind of Prince does Machiavelli consider to be Excellent?

6. Why does Machiavelli believe that people who break away from the rule of a Prince have difficulty keeping their freedom?

7. Why did Machiavelli praise the Plebes for refusing to choose their peers for Tribunes for which the Nobility allowed Plebes candidacy?

8. What acts by governing officials does Machiavelli consider "pernicious" or damaging to the authority of the government?

9. What does Machiavelli claim to be the practice of writers of history who, "...so obey the fortune of the winners...?"

10. What does Machiavelli mean when he advises that evil in a State be "temporized"?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

"The Discourses" were originally written as a letter to two Italian politicians at the time. Explain how that intended audience of this letter shaped the focus and tone of the text. What does Machiavelli's recommendations throughout the book say of the character of the intended audience? Give examples from the book to support your assumptions.

Essay Topic 2

Machiavelli advises on dealing with evil challenging a State in Book 1, Sections 33. What does Machiavelli consider evil? Support what you find as his definition with statements from all of "The Discourses". Do you agree with his assessments? Why or why not? In your response give documented support from other political or moral thinkers.

Essay Topic 3

Machiavelli details the difference between Excellent and Weak princes in Book One, Section 19. What is your position on Machiavelli's differentiation? Provide the language from the section that helps define you view and use support from history or current events that supports your position.

(see the answer keys)

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