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December 22, 2014

Homework Help: SAT Essay

Posted by Sahil on Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 9:54pm.

Directions: Politicians and government leaders often use the expression that "the ends always justify the means" to justify actions they deem essential to achieving certain results, such as going to war in order to preserve peace.

Assignment: Do the ends always justify the means?


The phrase, “the ends justify the means” originated from Machiavelli’s book, The Prince which describes the responsibilities of a monarch. He states that in order to preserve the good of the people, a King may take any path to achieve the greater goal. This has proved true many times in history; the ends do justify the means and this can bee seen through the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II and the “Balseros” that left Cuba for the US as economic refugees in the 1990s.

World War II has been described as the mother of all words expanding the definition of war as the fight as the major powers of the world divided and were ready to fight till death. Advanced weaponry and a new wave of patriotism spread through the affected countries increasing the intensity of the fighting. As the world prolonged, the US developed the atomic bomb, a deadly and catastrophic tool of destruction. The president of the US, Harry Truman was faced with a choice; he could let the war draw on or attempt to end it with use of the atomic bomb. Truman chose the latter, realizing that the means of destruction he was about to employ would be justified with the end of the war. The bombs were dropped upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki killing millions, but Japan surrendered unconditionally thus ending the further horrors of WWII.

Cubans had to fight a war of their own in the 1990s. Once Russia withdrew its aid for Cuba, the economy was left in shambles and many were struggling to survive. Once the dictator, Fidel Castro gave his citizens approval to leave the country for America, many resorted to drastic tactics. Giant tubes and tires were strung together to make somewhat of a raft. About ten people would board the raft and attempt to sail the 90 miles to the US without getting caught or dying, a very perilous expedition. Called “Balseros” many rafters attempted and died, but of those who made it to the US, most when on to lead better lives in the US. Happy that they made the trop, the terrible passage was justified by their successful lives.

Machiavelli’s theory didn’t only apply to ruling an empire, but it has applied just as well to daily life decisions. Circumstance and necessity play a huge role, but sacrifice is necessary for progress, as seen through the efforts of the Balseros. Though perilous, the paths to the light at the end of the tunnel may in fact be well worth it.

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