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Subject Test World History

Question 21 of 22

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"Where it is an absolute question of the welfare of our country, we must admit of no considerations of justice or injustice, or mercy or cruelty, or praise or ignominy, but putting all else aside must adopt whatever course will save its existence and preserve its liberty."

The statement above expresses the viewpoint of which of the following?

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Niccolò Machiavelli

Correct Answer: 
Yes

Sir Thomas More

Correct Answer: 
No

Desiderius Erasmus

Correct Answer: 
No

Dante Alighieri

Correct Answer: 
No

John Calvin

Correct Answer: 
No

It can be deduced from the quote that its author believes that politics should always be approached dispassionately and from a position of the national interest. The author rules out ethical or moral reasoning directly, and religious reasoning indirectly, as being of any use in political decision making, stating that “the welfare of our country” must always take precedence over “considerations or justice or injustice, or mercy or cruelty.” He also rejects social convention as a principle that should guide policy, stating that considerations of “praise or ignominy” must likewise be set aside. These views were famously articulated by Niccolò Machiavelli in his treatise The Prince (first published in 1532).

Question Difficulty: 
hard