Differences between a Virtu Ruler and Other Rulers

The ruler that comes to rule as a citizen-ruler by virtu will be more successful than a ruler that comes to power by other means. According to Machiavelli, a citizen-ruler is one that comes to rule solely on the basis of his own abilities or virtu. He has done and will continue to do whatever it takes to continue his rule. There are many differences between a ruler that acquires power through virtu and a ruler that acquires power through other means such as heredity or ecclesiastical rule. There are also many difficulties that are prone to a ruler of virtu that do not affect rulers that acquire power through other means.

The ruler that acquires his power by virtu is very different that a ruler that comes to means by heredity. A ruler that comes to rule by heredity does not have to live up to such expectations as other rulers. The people see a heredity ruler as a figurehead. There is no need for a heredity ruler to possess any great talent, skill or education. The people expect that this ruler was merely lucky by his birthright. Much of this is the same for a ruler that is an ecclesiastical ruler. The only real pressure of the ecclesiastical ruler is to put up a front of goodness and holiness. Machiavelli says about the ecclesiastical states, “These have developed to such a pitch of strength they can support their rulers in power no matter how they live and behave.” A ruler who acquires his power through his own virtu is very different from the other rulers described. A ruler of virtu has to be a true ruler of the people, since he depends on their support for his appointments. For a ruler of virtu to receive the full support of his people he must learn how to make his people love him, but at the same time fear him.

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There are many difficulties that are endemic to the ruler of virtu. For example, if he loses the support of his populace he could be overthrown. Machiavelli states, “If the masses are opposed to you, you can never be secure, for there are too many of them.” This would typically not happen to another ruler. A ruler of virtu has to be much more concerned with getting the support of the populace. Machiavelli also states, “Anyone who becomes ruler with the support of the populace ought to ensure he keeps their support; which will not be difficult, for all they ask is not to be oppressed.” To be a successful ruler of virtu, one must correctly establish his power by violent or non-violent means. “And since people, when they are well-treated by someone whom they expected to treat them badly, feel all the more obliged to their benefactor, he will find that the populace will quickly become better inclined towards him than if he has come to power with their support.”

I think that there is a guarantee that a ruler of virtu will be more successful than a ruler that comes to power by any other means. A ruler of virtu has not had his power simply given to him, he has had to work very hard for it. A heredity ruler might simply take for granted his power, but a ruler of virtu has had to strive and sacrifice for his power and is intent on becoming a successful ruler. Also, a ruler of virtu can have his power easily taken away if he does not win over the affections of the populace. This entails that a ruler of virtu that has come to power on the basis of his own abilities will work everyday to ensure that he does not lose his power.

In conclusion, it seems apparent that ruler who comes to power by his own virtu will be a much more successful ruler than one that comes to rule by some other means such as heredity or ecclesiastical rule. The differences between a virtu ruler and other rulers are certain to point out that the virtu ruler is more inclined to be a better ruler and will be more liked by the populace. Even though the virtu ruler will encounter many more difficulties than another ruler will, it is certain that his determination and own abilities will make him the better ruler. Machiavelli says, “So a wise ruler will seek to ensure hat his citizens always, no matter what the circumstances, have an interest in preserving both him and his authority. If he can do this, they will always be faithful to him.”

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