President Nixon served as president of the United States from 1969 to 1974. His tenure as the president of the United States was marked by one of the biggest scandals in the modern history of the country and set him on the path of becoming one of the country’s few presidents who resigned. He resigned from office in 1974 due to Watergate scandal. This act is contrasted to the Machiavelli prince’s act of being good. Machiavelli stated that if a prince wished to remain in power by doing good he must learn and practice not to be on the right side or do good things. This is because of the fact that doing the right thing affects so many bad people. President Nixon action goes against the Machiavelli principles of the prince. This essay outlines the reason why Machiavelli principle does not apply to President Nixon’s case by focusing on the Nixon failures such as the Cambodia bombing and Watergate scandal. President Nixon does not represent Machiavelli prince (Paulson n.pag).
Before assuming power, President Nixon promised to end the Vietnam War because most of American soldiers lost their lives in the war. Contrary to the expectations, he launched and approved bombings to be executed in North Vietnam to intimidate the leaders in the region. He went against the wishes of the American leaders as well as the public by failing to withdraw the soldiers. He attempted to act for his own good while ignoring advice from fellow leaders and war experts.
The Watergate scandal cost the president his legacy and tainted his image as the leader of the country, locally and internationally. Before he resigned, plans were underway by leaders and public to impeach him because the scandal took place under his watch. The scandal revealed the underhand tricks Nixon’s administration used to maintain its dominance by influencing and harassing the opposition and activists. In addition, it involved money laundering and misuse of public funds. The scandal showed that Nixon did not act within the constructs of Machiavelli’s prince (Machiavelli 34).
Moreover, the administrators who implemented President Nixon’s manifesto and policies for service delivery to the public used force and improper conduct. Forty eight prominent officials were convicted of wrong doings including Mark Felt who tried to cover up the scandal by dismissing it as mere politics. Therefore, President Nixon fell short of managing his own administration instead resorting to blaming the opposition for his misfortunes. This was one of the primary reasons for his eventual downfall. In case a prince is unable to tame his followers or people who supported him to power like in his case, the reign is short-lived (Paulson n.pag.).
In conclusion, Nixon’s actions were contrary to Machiavelli’s views about the prince due to his actions, leadership style and failure to effectively manage and control people close to him. He resigned at a time the country needed him to intervene and defend his administration against the mistakes done. Protestors demanded his impeachment because they lost confidence in him. The political class in America and Nixon’s own party disowned him. By bombing the Vietnamese, President Nixon planned to scare and intimidate the Vietnamese in to surrendering without opposition. The American citizens were extremely disappointed as they overwhelmingly voted him in for the second term because his first term was very successful through the establishment of peace deals such as the Chinese peace deal of 1972.
Machiavelli, Niccolò. The Prince: The Original Classic. Chichester: Capstone Pub, 2010. Print.
Paulson, Bert J. “Richard Nixon: The Explosive Scandal.” YouTube. Mainspring Pictures Ltd, 10 Oct. 2014. Web. 11 Oct. 2015