Compare And Contrast Socrates And Niccolo Machiavelli

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Socrates and Niccolo Machiavelli are two very well-known and continually studied Western philosophers who have had a large degree of influence on intellectual thought and political organization since their times. In the works Apology and Crito, the Greek philosopher and Socrates contemporary Plato lays out Socrates’ philosophical beliefs of finding the truth, seeking wisdom, and acquiring knowledge for the betterment of the soul. In The Prince by Machiavelli, he lays out his guidelines for how a prince should go about obtaining, maintaining, and strengthening power, and how a successful principality should be run, and was written and sent to an actual Florentine ruler, Lorenzo the Magnificent. Socrates would most likely not be very supportive of Machiavelli’s idea of the ideal prince due to Machiavelli’s emphasis on obtaining power and keeping his attention away from the needs of the people, as well as endorsements of cruelty, never questioning the law, and putting morality on hold for the sake of power, while Socrates’ philosophy is centered on the individual and how each person should pursue knowledge and goodness.
In his book, Machiavelli clearly lays out how a prince should run his principality and what society should look like under his control. Machiavelli talks about either the prince requiring the ability to use his foresight and his own abilities and talents to gain power, or gaining power as a result of fortune, such as when he says a “private individual becoming a

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