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The University of South Florida Political Understanding Essay

Ground Rules

Submissions should bethree to four full pages, double-spaced, in twelve-point Times New Roman font, with one-inch margins, no extra spacing between paragraphs, and no works cited page (it is expected you will follow the citation model described below). Do not place your name or any other information (title, date, class, my name, etc.) in the header of the document.You will lose half a letter grade for failing to follow any of these guidelines.


Drawing from The Prince and The Discourses, explain how Machiavelli’s understanding of politicsand who should rule compares withthat of Socrates in Gorgias. By way of conclusion, indicate whether you believe their positions can be reconciled.

Additional Guidelines

Papers will be evaluated based on substantive accuracy; argumentative clarity; quality of writing; response to the prompt; and following the guidelines in this document.

The length requirements detailed above are requirements, not suggestions.

Do not write a long introductory paragraph. Begin with your thesis statement (1-2 sentences) and enter the textual analysis straightaway.

Draw directly from the texts. This means quotations, paraphrasing, and page citation. Papers that do not do this will begin at a B-.

Do not provide a works cited page. It is assumed you are using the required version of the course text.

To cite the text, use the first initial of the author’s last name followed by page numbers in parentheticals – for example: a virtuoso prince always throws the best parties” (M, 90); “Undoubtedly, Socrates” (P, 40).Outside sources are forbidden.

All submissions will pass through a plagiarism checker and I will follow USF Regulation 3.027 to the letter. It is your responsibility to ensure that your submissions are properly uploaded to Canvas. I do not consider corrupted or incorrect files as submissions.

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