Kemper M. Beasley - Honors in History
Churchill: Machiavelli's Prince or Modern Statesman?


Winston S. Churchill is one of the most well known historical figures of the twentieth century. Despite his career before and after, his role as Prime Minister of Britain during the Second World War has become the focus of many books and much speculation. Evaluating his leadership during this war, some have come to the conclusion that Churchill personifies extraordinary leadership amidst adversity and is the example of a modern statesman. To others, Churchill was a shrewd and ambitious wartime leader often idealized in past centuries. Therefore, to have a better understanding of these two perceptions, Churchill's leadership during World War II can be evaluated in light of Niccolo Machiavelli's 16th century leadership commentary and John Gardner's contemporary leadership commentary. Upon doing so, it can be concluded that Churchill fits parts of both models. As a result, he was a leader well suited to lead Britain during its difficult times.