JULIUS CAESAR AND RICHARD NIXON AS LEADERS
This research paper examines the question in relation to Julius Caesar (100 BC-44 BC) and Richard Nixon (1913-1997) whether it is more effective for a political leader to be loved or feared? The remarkably successful phases of the careers of both men suggest that Niccolo Machiavelli was correct when he said that it was more advisable for a political leader to be feared than loved. Both men, however, suffered from a high degree of intellectual egotism and lack of respect for others which contributed to their ultimate downfalls as leaders.
Caesar, however, was capable of inspiring the loyalty, if not the affections, of masses of men; but the passions he aroused threatened the privileges of key members of the Roman aristocratic class thereby bringing about the Senatorial conspiracy that ended his life. Nixon conspicuously lacked such intensely emotional support yet he, too, overstepped reasonable bounds in his use of power. In so doing, he forfeited in large measure the public trust which a democratic political leader must enjoy to be effective. Nixon was less consistent than Caesar in his use of fear as an instrument of power which in the end rendered him capable of neither being feared nor loved and ironically may have hastened his fall from grace.
Machiavelli had a somewhat cynical and pessimistic view of human nature. Men were, he said, motivated by self-interest and fickle by nature, "ungrateful, voluble, dissemblers, anxious to avoid danger, and covetous of gain" (Ebenstein 193). As to "whether it is better to be loved more than feared, or feared more than loved . . . one ought to be both . . . but as it is difficult for the two to go together, it is much safer to be feared than loved" (Ebenstein 193). He observed that
men have less scruple in offending one who makes himself feared; for love is held by a chain of obligation which, men being selfish, is broken whenever it...