JULIUS CAESAR & RICHARD NIXON AS LEADERS.
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Analyzes their careers & success in Machiavellian terms, as a factor of others fearing them rather than loving them.... More...
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Analyzes their careers & success in Machiavellian terms, as a factor of others fearing them rather than loving them.
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
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Heparticularly urged a prince not to "make himself feared in such a way thatif he does not gain love, he at any rate avoids hatred" (Ebenstein 194). Even, however, after making allowances for the environmental factorswhich conditioned Nixon and made him hate so many people so intensely,Ambrose is undoubtedly correct that Nixon went much further than he had toprotect his programs and beliefs from political attack. At his final farewell to the White House staff held in the East Roomon August 9, 1974, Nixon echoed Machiavelli's caution against incurring thehatred of one's enemies when he said, "always remember, others may hateyou, but those you hate you don't win unless you hate them, and then youdestroy yourself" (Ambrose, Ruin 444). According to Duggan, he learned earlythat "politics was a dangerous business in which death was often thepenalty of failure" (31). Nixon conspicuouslylacked such intensely emotional support yet he, too, overstepped reasonablebounds in his use of power. . In other words, Caesar was well launched onhis way as a tyrant and the conspirators were determined not to let himsucceed. 19 - 199.Nixon, Richard M. Both men, however, suffered froma high degree of intellectual egotism and lack of respect for others whichcontributed to their ultimate downfalls as leaders. According toWicker, "a great many Americans admired and respected --some loved-- him.Perhaps as many feared and disliked --even despised --him" (21). with unequalled brutality and treachery" (Grant33). D. 'Morality' to him, was an ambiguous concept, a seemingly immoral or cynical act, such as bombing a city, could have a 'moral goal,' just as seemingly moral acts could have immoral consequences --if a president did nothing (427-428). Caesar was unabashedly ambitious and would make deals with whateverpoliticians he needed to in order to further his interests. . JULIUS CAESAR AND RICHARD NIXON AS LEADERS This research paper examines the question in relation to JuliusCaesar (1 BC-44 BC) and Richard Nixon (1913-1997) whether it is moreeffective for a political leader to be loved or feared? It was rather, mosthistorians agree, Caesar's manner, his intellectual arrogance and, ashonors were heaped on him, Consul-elect for 1 years, Dictator for life,and finally Imperator, it is little wonder that Caesar took on more andmore of a haughty, imperial stance.Duggan says "Caesar offended Roman dignity by his brusque and offhandmethods of settling awkward questions. One of Us: Richard Nixon and the American Dream. should foreclose savage action when it became necessary. Julius Caesar. Actually, in the dark recesses ofNixon's psyche, hatred and recrimination possessed him much more often andto a degree that he would not admit even to himself. When Caesar crossed the Rubicon in January 49, he defied the will ofthe Senate. Grant says "as a risingpolitician, he . P. . He briefly displayed hiscourage as a young officer at the age of 18 with the Army in Greece. Neither of them was verylovable. . New York: Warner Books, 1982.Wicker, Tom. Knopf, 1966.Ebenstein, William (Ed.). New York: Atheneum, 1967.Duggan, Alfred. He was criticized in the Senate by Cato for using dishonorable meansin his campaign against two Teutonic tribes. As a young man, he displayed a tendency to be headstrongand to evince an attitude that suggested that he believed the ordinarycustoms and rules of society did not apply to him. Because of his hatred of so many people, because of his war with the press, because of his intense desire to take revenge for all the slights and hurts he had suffered for so many years, he seethed with rage (Nixon The Triumph 66 ). The remarkablysuccessful phases of the careers of both men suggest that NiccoloMachiavelli was correct when he said that it was more advisable for apolitical leader to be feared than loved. They each would have been more successfulif they could have moderated their ambitions. According toBalsdon, "In personal relationships with men he was frank, forthcoming andutterly uninhibited" (57). The secret to his success was his speedof movement and the other feats which he could persuade his invariablyoutnumbered legions to perform against his barbarian foes. . Nixon Ruin and Recovery 1973-199 . Ambrose put it thisway: Nixon's hatreds went far beyond the reporters. Despite his frequent absencesbetween 49 and 44, in Gaul, Spain and Egypt for his interlude withCleopatra, Caesar had little difficulty maintaining his authority so greatwas his reputation and so feared his name at that point. That's what I want them to believe" (Wicker424). . But legitimate power in a democracy is bound by tradition . 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 serves their purposes' but fear is maintained by a dread of punishment which never fails (Ebenstein 194). . In the Arena: A Memoir of Victory, Defeat and Renewal. Later, he engaged in wholesaledistributions of public lands to veterans and poor farmers. He saysthat "the instinct of many Americans [was] that he was not what he seemed"(22). . While Nixon proved to be a good vote getter in many elections(but not in others), there still remained in many people's minds that Nixonwas projecting an outer shell behind which lay a different personality andnot necessarily one which could be trusted. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1975.Machiavelli, Niccolo. Caesar was not,however, a sadist; his cruelties were always designed to serve somemilitary or political purpose.Caesar was disarmingly frank about why he did what he did. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989.Baldson, J. His solutions were sound, but theywere imposed nakedly be his sole authority" (17 ). This feeling was captured bythe annual Esquire magazine dubious achievement awards which invariablyshowed a picture of a smiling Nixon and underneath the question: 'Would youbuy a used car from this man?' In his famous Checkers speech of September23, 1952, when Vice Presidential candidate Nixon offered an explanation forthe so-called slush fund of campaign contributions, Nixon bared his soulbut he did so in a tone which was reminiscent of the soap operas ontelevision rather than real life. According toBalsdon, "he made up his mind quickly and acted always with resolution,ready often to take the greatest, even the foolhardiest of risks" (56).During his political career and later after he became Dictator, he wouldhave recourse, when the patricians in the Senate blocked his path, to thepeople, "to increase his personal influence with the mob" (Duggan 63). He did not understand that real power lies with the people and their perceptions. In 1982, in his discussionof world leaders he had known, Nixon said, "'great leaders' are notnecessarily good men" (Leaders 3). New York: Alfred A. . . . According to Wicker, Richard . The Twelve Caesars. Nixon is probably the most complex and among the most controversialmen to have occupied the Oval Office. Introduction Machiavelli had a somewhat cynical and pessimistic view of humannature. He would not make much of a subject for psychiatric examination. but asit is difficult for the two to go together, it is much safer to be fearedthan loved" (Ebenstein 193). Caesar, however, was capable of inspiring the loyalty, if not theaffections, of masses of men; but the passions he aroused threatened theprivileges of key members of the Roman aristocratic class thereby bringingabout the Senatorial conspiracy that ended his life. Grant says "heknew exactly how to treat his men, when to loosen the rein and when totighten it" (34). he displayed personal resentment when anyone daredto thwart his wishes" (188). that people didn't like him" (31). was a dark and brooding man --who saw no reason why the pursuit of 'great purposes' . Nevertheless, the Checkers speech workedfor him. The Prince (1513). He did not destroy the tapes which ultimately incriminated him andultimately accepted the judgments against him of the Supreme Court. One themepertinent to our subject is that over the course of his rollercoasterpolitical career, Nixon has had difficulty expressing his feelings,especially positive ones such as love. He wasexposed during his late childhood to the political conspiracies thatenveloped early first century Rome. Once when he was asked during hispresidency what his foreign adversaries thought of him, Nixon replied,"they obviously think I'm nuts. Never a popular tribune, Caesar was oftenconsidered a traitor to his class by the aristocratic Senate. In other words, Nixon and his sidekick in foreign policy, HenryKissinger, were devotees of real politik. A realdictator might have done otherwise and retained power. Heshrugged off criticism of his brief homosexual affair with a senior Romangeneral abroad which helped further his career. Power to Nixon was manipulation, inside information, polls, favors, trade-offs, bribes, public relations, smears and intimidation . New York: Rinehart, 1947.Grant, Michael. Works CitedAmbrose, Stephen A. (Hiss was actually convicted for perjury, but would not havebeen convicted had Nixon not almost singlehandedly pressed theCongressional investigation into Whittaker Chamber's charges against Hisswhich much of the governing establishment pooh-poohed at the time). Wickersays that much of Nixon's "bitterness toward, sometimes contempt for, those'gifted colleagues,' in their tuxedos, to whom good things came moreeasily" was a product of early struggles of the Nixon family's life inWhittier (9). Hiscurried popularity when he was a middle level official (aedile) byproviding gladiatorial contests. Wicker suggested that "a sense ofemotional deprivation deep in Nixon's innermost personality might go far toexplain his fear . Instead, his successors made him a god. Nixon was less consistent than Caesar in his use of fear as aninstrument of power which in the end rendered him capable of neither beingfeared nor loved and ironically may have hastened his fall from grace. Rather, we are talking about those who so effectivelywielded power on such a grand scale that they significantly changed thecourse of history" (Leaders 3). . Caesar gained invaluable experience quelling Spanish rebels when hewas sent there in 61 BC. one ought to be both . In so doing, he forfeited in large measure thepublic trust which a democratic political leader must enjoy to beeffective. Leaders: Profiles and Reminiscences of Men Who Have Shaped the Modern World. Caesar's illustrious military career in commandof Roman legions began later after he was 42. . Caesar had attacked [these tribes] whileambassadors were in his camp seeking peace" (116). Nixon's accomplishments were more modest but nonetheless real.Recent revelations from the KGB's files suggest that he was pilloriedunfairly for his work in exposing Alger Hiss as a Soviet spy in the 193 sand 194 s. His biographer Stephen Ambrose says"he was the angriest American President" (Nixon Ruin 587). Hehad no other alternative in order to salvage his own future but to prevailin the Civil War and defeat Pompey's forces which he accomplished at theBattle of Pharnaces in Asia Minor in 47. New York: Random House, 1991.----------------------- 12 . In retrospect,there is little in the reforms introduced by Caesar which could haveoccasioned such a tragic ending to a brilliant career. rptd in Man and the State: Modern Political Ideas, ed. In citing as some of his heroes inhistory, Peter and Alexander the Great, Napoleon and Julius Caesar, Nixonadded, "only occasionally do we refer to those who raised statecraft to ahigher moral plane. His reputation as one of the most outstandingmilitary commanders in history was made by his conquest of Gaul andTeutonic tribes between 58 and 51. As to "whether it is better to be loved more thanfeared, or feared more than loved . While like Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte andother great commanders, he could inspire them to great acts of derring-do,this should not be confused with love. He says that thereafter"Caesar's reputation for ruthless, bloodthirsty cruelty was firmlyestablished, among his friends as among his enemies" (55). . . V. Richard Nixon Nixon clearly shared Machiavelli's view of human nature. He said in199 , "in general charm and good personal relations do not affect peoplewhen their interests are at stake; the only appear that works is one to thehead rather than to the heart" (In the 2 7-2 8). To his credit Nixon was not the ogre some of his critics make him outto be. He nevercancelled but he caused the stretchout of debt burdens incurred by the poorduring the Civil War of the 5 s. Men were, he said, motivated by self-interest and fickle by nature,"ungrateful, voluble, dissemblers, anxious to avoid danger, and covetous ofgain" (Ebenstein 193). He says that Caesar "became touchyabout his dignity . The explanationfor why Nixon apparently felt unloved probably had something to do with hisupbringing by his gruff, demanding and strict Methodist father and hisQuaker mother Hannah, whom Nixon described on many occasions as a saint butwho Wicker says displayed toward her children "a lack of motherly warmth"(23). Whatever the reason, Nixon often appeared in public to be a stiff,uncomfortable, calculating, and even a programmed personality. Julius Caesar Caesar was born into a fairly prosperous patrician family. [and to] "proceed in atemperate manner with prudence and humanity" (Ebenstein 193). Man and the State: Modern Political Ideas. Nixon The Triumph of a Politician 1862-1972. . Julius Caesar: A Great Life in Brief. He says that Nixon often failed to see the limits. . Caesar had the respect of hissoldiers because he never lost a single battle. Caesar openly enjoyed exercising dominion overothers. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991.Ambrose, Stephen A. In his wars, especially those in Spain and in Central Europe, Caesar"prosecuted [them] . He gained early inhis political career a reputation for taking the low road, for usingquestionable methods on the campaign hustings. At 18 he married thedaughter of an individual who was considered a dangerous revolutionarywhich earned him a personal rebuke from Rome's temporary dictator Sulla.Duggan says that Caesar showed then and on a number of other occasions "hisonly weakness, a lack of sympathy with his fellow citizens --whichsometimes led him to outrage public opinion through sheer ignorance of themanner in which his actions would strike his contemporaries" (41). He was constantly railing at 'they,' threatening to get 'them.' . . Conclusion Caesar and Nixon were adept in the use of power and placed more valueon causing people to fear than to love them, which aided them to accomplishtheir aims as political leaders. . William Ebenstein, New York: Rinehart, 1947. Hethen went on during the next two decades to a promising career as anambitious aristocratic politician holding a number of junior and middlelevel positions. So, this complex man self-destructed his presidency by the coverupand the other excesses he and his associates committed which are covered bythe single term 'Watergate.' Nixon was not a tyrant like Caesar nor did hepossess the overweening self-confidence that permitted Caesar to standastride the civilized world of his time, as William Shakespeare said, likeColossus. Lest his readers draw the wrong lessons, Machiavelli urged leaders tobe "cautious in believing and acting" . . According to Duggan, "men ofhonor were genuinely shocked. New York: Simon & Schuster, 199 .Nixon, Richard M. Thus, in his successful 1946campaign as a Republican candidate for the 12th Congressional HouseDistrict in California, he accused five term Democratic Congressman JerryVoorhis, a registered Socialist, of being a communist or a 'parlor pink.'In the 195 election to the Senate, he called Democratic candidate HelenDouglas a "Communist party-liner.' Wicker says that such tactics earned himthe nickname Tricky Dick. Nixon also had an ambivalent approach to power. The conspiracy against Caesar that resulted in his being assassinatedin the Senate in 44 included opportunists, disappointed office seekers andothers such as Marcus Brutus who wished to restore liberty. However, his alliance with Pompey had already broken down. . a sense of what is right and wrong (Nixon Ruin 582). . had been indifferent to insult" but "now he was in toomuch of a hurry to be courteous" (187). .
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