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group of women General  Synopsis  Of  Philosophy

Machiavelli: Principality and Republic
Among the most widely-read of the Renaissance thinkers was Niccolo Machiavelli, a Florentine politician who retired from public service to write at length on the skill required for successfully running the state. Impatient with abstract reflections on the way things "ought" to be, Machiavelli focussed on the way things are, illustrating his own intensely practical convictions with frequent examples from the historical record. Although he shared with other humanists a profound pessimism about human nature, Machiavelli nevertheless argued that the social benefits of stability and security can be achieved even in the face of moral corruption.
The Prince
In 1513 Machiavelli wrote his best-known work, Il Principe (The Prince). Dedicated to Lorenzo de' Medici, this little book offers practical advice on how to rule a city like sixteenth-century Florence. Its over-all theme is that the successful prince must exhibit virtu [variously translated as "strength," "skill," or "prowess"] in both favorable and adverse circumstances. This crucial quality of leadership is not the same as the virtuous character described by ethical philosophers, since Machiavelli held that public success and private morality are entirely separate. The question is not what makes a good human being, but what makes a good prince.
Since all governments are either republics or principalities, Machiavelli noted, their people will be accustomed either to managing their own affairs or to accepting the leadership of a prince. (For that reason, the safest princes are those who inherit their rule over people used to the family.) A prudent leader, however, will be able to anticipate problems long before they actually arise, using virtu to forestall what would otherwise be great difficulties. Whatever vitality a former republic may have, then, Machiavelli counselled that it either be destroyed or ruled carefully by a resident prince. (Prince 5)
One of the most obvious ways of doing so is by the careful use of military forces, and to this Machiavelli devoted great attention. In fact, in a separate work entitled L'Arte della guerra (The Art of War) (1520) he offered extensive advice on the acquisition, management, and employment of the army of the state. In The Prince he was content to distinguish types of forces which one might acquire, noting the advantages and disadvantages of each, and to emphasize that such matters are the most vital component of any prince's interest. (Prince 14)

Leadership Qualities
Machiavelli's insistence on the practicality of his political advice is most evident in his consideration of the personality, character, and conduct of the successful ruler. (Prince 15) No matter what idealistic notions are adopted as principles of private morality, he argued, there is no guarantee that other people will follow them, and that puts the honorable or virtuous individual at a distinct disadvantage in the real world. In order to achieve success in public life, the ruler must know precisely when and how to do what no good person would ever do.
Although private morality may rest on other factorsdivine approval, personal character, or abstract duties, for examplein public life only the praise and blame of fellow human beings really counts. Thus, Machiavelli supposed, the ruler needs to acquire a good reputation while actually doing whatever wrong seems necessary in the circumstances. (Prince 18) Thus, rulers must seem to be generous while spending their money wisely, appear to be compassionate while ruling their armies cruelly, and act with great cunning while cultivating a reputation for integrity. Although it is desirable to be both loved and feared by one's subjects, it is difficult to achieve both, and of the two, Machiavelli declared, it is far safer for the ruler to be feared. (Prince 17)
Since the modern state is too complex to be managed by any single human being, the effective ruler will naturally need to have advisors who assist in governance. Choosing the right people for these jobs and employing their services appropriately, Machiavelli supposed, is among the practical skills most clearly associated with good leadership. (Prince 22) A good ruler will invariably choose competent companions who offer honest advice in response to specific questions and carry out the business of the state without regard for their private interests; such people therefore deserve the rewards of honor, ... more

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Domestic Violence

INTRODUCTION



What is domestic violence? There is no question that domestic violence directed against women is a serious problem. Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop has called it women's number-one health problem. The statistics reported in the popular press are staggering: Nearly one third of women in hospital emergency departments are there due to domestic violence, three out of four female homicide victims are killed by their husbands or lovers, and 6 million women are victims of abuse by people they know each year (Journal of the American Medical Association June, 1992).


     Let us begin by first defining what abuse is: abuse is the use or threat to use physical, sexual, or verbal behavior to coerce the partner to do something one wants; to degrade or humiliate; to gain or maintain a sense of power or control; to act out ones anger inappropriately. Abusive behaviors may include subtle or covert harm as well as life threatening acts of violence. Yet, it seems to be that violence against an intimate partner does not seem to be as serious as other crimes. We know this, because less than half of our states view marital rape as a crime (History of Governor' Commission on Domestic Violence, 2001). The Governor's Commission on Domestic Violence was established by the Weld/Cellucci administration in April 1992, shortly after domestic violence was declared a public health emergency in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Governor's Commission on Domestic Violence leads the nation in its comprehensive and innovative approach to addressing the crime of domestic violence. Some of its many accomplishments include:
     State funding for domestic violence prevention and intervention initiatives including: resources for district attorney's offices, battered women's programs and emergency shelters, legal services, school based teen dating violence programs, certified batters intervention programs, and judicial training. For FY01, state funding totaled over $23.4 million dollars.
     The publication of the Annual Prevention and Intervention Plan (House 1 budget) detailing domestic violence initiatives.
      The support of progressive domestic violence legislation including Chapter 209A, stalking law, firearms legislation, and uniform enforcement of out of state restraining orders.
     The first state wide Domestic Violence Law Enforcement Guidelines.
     The publication of The Children's Paper, a comprehensive report focusing on the special needs of child victims of domestic violence including a wide range of recommendations.
     The publication of Safely Toward Self-Sufficiency, a report addressing the impact of victims of domestic violence receiving transitional assistance.
     The modification for statewide certification standards for batterer intervention programs.
     The publication of the Family Violence Prevention Guide (History of the Governor's Commission on Domestic Violence, 2001)
Domestic violence has been a priority for Cellucci since he and Weld declared a state of emergency in March, 1992 in response to the rising epidemic of domestic violence. The Governor's Commission on Domestic Violence was established, with a full-time Executive Director, to monitor domestic violence initiatives (M. Laffan & M. Hogan, 1998).
Most abusive partners are between 26-35 years of age with a substantial number falling between the 36-50 year category. Since most abusive partners are between 26-35 years of age, their relationship with their partner most likely began during late adolescence or early adulthood. Most abuse occurs during the first 15 years of partnership. Over 80% of abusive partners have a positive history of childhood abuse or have witnessed abuse against their own mothers. About 35% of abusive partners have alcoholic problems with only 10% of them in treatment programs (Journal of the American Medical Association June, 1992).
     Systematic research investigating marital violence began in the 1970's and, by the early 1980's, expanded to include courtship or relationship violence. Several studies using nationally representative samples from the United States have been conducted among married couples, and college couples. In general, these studies reported alarming rates of interpersonal conflict among married and unmarried couples in terms of verbal and physical aggression. Recently, on reviewing the previous 17 years of empirical research revolving intimate relationships, it is estimated that 54% of women will experience at least one physical assault inflicted by an intimate partner during adulthood (American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 2000). The magnitude of this statistic may be difficult for some to grasp.
     Domestic violence is virtually impossible to measure with absolute precision due to numerous complications ... more

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