Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)
If gubment isn't a vehicle of power, what is?
Therefore, such power would attract what types of people, those who would "lead" a gubment?
Power is not what defines the "exceptionalism" of America.
Power is not what defines the "exceptionalism" of the Founding Fathers.
Power is not what defines the "exceptionalism" of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The "exceptionalism" of our great country, and the philosophies behind its establishment, is not that we as Americans are more exceptional than other peoples, or our country more exceptional than other countries.
The "exceptionalism" of the United States of America lies in the idea that the individual reigns - freedoms endowed to the individual; rights endowed to the individual; abilities to act and not to be acted upon by a tyrannical gubment or dictator endowed to the individual; a free-enterprise approach endowed to business philosophy that allows businesses to serve their constituencies and grow.
Indeed, the "exceptionalism" of the United States of America is that its gubment is limited by a set of rules designed to control its behavior and protect the individual, and the rights endowed to these individuals by their Creator. Those rules, and those limitations, are encased in the U. S. Constitution.
And the great precedent for the leaders of this "exceptional" realm was set by none other than George Washington. His greatness in this regard was recognized then and is still recognized now. And while perhaps recognized by, it is not understood and would not be approved by the doctrine we now call Machiavellianism.
And it was recognized by Washington’s contemporary leader and his greatest adversary, King George III. The king asked his American painter, Benjamin West, what Washington would do with his presidency after winning independence from his dictatorship. West replied, “They say he will return to his farm.”
Incredulous, the monarch retorted, “If he does that he will be the greatest man in the world.”
I suggest that Machiavelli's most recognized work, The Prince, would not have advised that move to Mr. Washington. It would have advised Washington the consolidation of his power, advised his personal decisions as to what groups in, and parts of the "organism" of, his gubment be fed and nourished (or eliminated), and advised his personal management of the "organism's" growth.
The Prince would not have suggested a precedent that limited the future contributions of the leaders who would follow.
The Prince would have suggested a precedent of slash and burn of political opposition.
The Prince would have suggested a precedent that "the people" (whom it would not have referred to as "the people") be controlled with high taxes, freebies, increasingly-crushing regulations of its behavior in personal life and the market place, and any other way(s) necessary to grow the organism.
The Prince would have advised unlimited, instead of limited, and ever-growing bureaucracy.
The "organism of gubment" is not, as Machiavelli suggests, capable of doing most things for the population that the population cannot do for itself - as he says, "its moral and material improvements."
The "organism of gubment" is instead LIMITED by such words as "form," "establish," "insure," "provide," "promote," and "secure." See and read the Preamble to the Constitution, which enumerates these LIMITATIONS in only 52 words. And then the definitions are laid out, and SIMPLY!
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
Fifty two words Niccolo Machiavelli might never have understood.
The exceptionalism of freedom is not understood by dictators.