The platform for political science brought to us by Aristotle, had structuralized the forms and functions of government with little attention to conflict. Whereas, in Machiavelli’s work, we explore new notions of statecraft concerning power, fear and interests. Machiavelli’s work is pulled together from thousands of years’ worth of written history and studies of conflict compared to Aristotle’s work, circa 350 B.C. concerned with proportion and constitutions which consists mostly of observations made of Greek city-states. When comparing these two influential men we should entertain the question, “would you rather be loved or feared?” Is it possible to have a fully functioning republic without fear of the consequences of disobeying laws and …show more content…
The church was more powerful than organization or governance and anyone who dared speak against the church or pope would be punished severely. Then, during the 14th and 15th centuries, the conciliar movement sought to limit the popes power by instituting a council (council of cardinals). The council and the pope represented a system of checks and balances. With this and ecclesiastical law (cannon law), we begin to see the decline in the pope’s power around the 1400’s. This sets the scene for Machiavelli’s views. Machiavelli thought highly of the roman republic and wanted a republic of Italy (nation state). He was a tough minded realist that incorporated warfare language into politics which hadn’t really been seen before. Unlike Plato, who wrote of proportion and Aristotle who wrote of moderation, Machiavelli writes of power and state craft. He writes of this new science of state craft as an apparatus of reason, balance, force and coercion. He writes of republicanism and the citizens, focusing importance on virtu, patriotism and vitality as I will discuss in depth later on. The new road Machiavelli sets out on concerns all of this, as well as the factors that pertain to keeping a republic going, which greatly concern not necessarily conflict resolution, but conflict mediation. To continue our discussion, Machiavelli
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A longstanding debate in human history is what to do with power and what is the best way to rule. Who should have power, how should one rule, and what its purpose should government serve have always been questions at the fore in civilization, and more than once have sparked controversy and conflict. The essential elements of rule have placed the human need for order and structure against the human desire for freedom, and compromising between the two has never been easy. It is a question that is still considered and argued to this day. However, the argument has not rested solely with military powers or politicians, but philosophers as well. Two prominent voices in this debate are Plato and Machiavelli, both
Despite living thousands of years ago, Socrates and Machiavelli were both influential thinkers whose works are still relevant today. These two great thinkers and philosophers wrote about and extensively studied political systems. The influences of their work can still be seen today in constitutions and governments around the world. Were it not for their transcendent works, there is a real chance today’s systems of government would look very different. While no governments today exactly match those advocated for by Machiavelli and Socrates, their writings surely influenced other thinkers later on in history. Both of these philosophers advocated for different leadership structures with the hope of creating fair and long-lasting states.
While some other great political thinkers sat around and dreamed about their perfect little utopias in the clouds, notably Socrates and Plato, Machiavelli was analyzing the most powerful men of his day. He observed and recorded how men flocked the sheep to exactly where they were wanted by their shepherd. He watched as the wolves preyed on the sheep and noticed that there was no philosopher king around to prevent it. He accepted that we as humans are corrupt and that we can’t all be Marcus Aurelius, king of
On the heels of the Peloponnesian war, Socrates was blamed for corrupting the youth and disrespecting the Athenian gods and Athenian values. His defense or “Apology” and reaction after he was sentenced to death in “Crito” demonstrate his most basic philosophy and ideals of what a government should truly be like. Yet in a vastly different situation, Machiavelli, who lived during the renaissance of Italy experienced constant shifts of power which he wrote his book, “The Prince”. Machiavelli writes about how a leader or prince should conduct himself in order to keep and efficiently run a republic or principality. Although Socrates’ texts on the surface deal with his accusations, the texts give great insight as to how he thinks a government
In Machiavelli’s model, the church was not going to be a factor. He believed that you should love the state more than your soul. At times, it is necessary to do a morally bad thing in order to preserve the state. It is in these times, Machiavelli believed, that it was more important to preserve the state than your own morality.
Machiavelli's work was based primarily on achieving power and stability. The citizenry, while important to keep appeased and docile, was not the basis of Machiavelli's perspective. This was not a humanist work; the active engagement of normative, humanist thinking is counterproductive to understanding Machiavelli. In many circumstances, Machiavelli speaks of controlled violence to achieve an end. This discerns that power is not an intrinsic element in itself but an external, conditioned construct that has no true inherent morality. The most pessimistic, however, realistic description of power is simply whomever has the authority to enforce laws--or subservience-- through threat of violence on a specific
Niccolò Machiavelli was an activist of analyzing power. He believed firmly in his theories and he wanted to persuade everyone else of them as well. To comment on the common relationship that was seen between moral goodness and legitimate authority of those who held power, Machiavelli said that authority and power were essentially coequal.9 He believed that whomever had power obtained the right to command; but goodness does not ensure power. This implied that the only genuine apprehension of the administrative power was the attainment and preservation of powers which indirectly guided the maintenance of the state. That, to him, should have been the objective of all leaders. Machiavelli believed that one should do whatever it took, during the given circumstance, to keep his people in favor of him and to maintain the state. Thus, all leaders should have both a sly fox and ravenous wolf inside of him prepared to release when necessary.10
In The Prince, Machiavelli’s primary focus is on how a prince should act when exercising his political power. Machiavelli argues that a prince should first separate his public and private life. Therefore, a prince must be willing to deceive his people in thinking he is the best suited leader. Although a prince may need to act immoral at times, he must not abuse his power. A prince must only practice acts of manipulation, coercion, and deceit, to protect his power.
Machiavelli brought up many controversial and untraditional points regarding what a kingdom or prince was allowed to do to maintain power. The most extreme, being that the prince wasn't held to any moral code in the practice of maintaining power. A prince must be prepared to ward off any conflicting power even if it means breaking traditional moral codes. Other powers, Machiavelli believed, wouldn't be so kind in combat and a prince must fight back with equal or greater force. Another point is that it's better to be feared than loved. Machiavelli believed that love didn't
When examining Machiavelli political ideals, it is hard to look at it without saying this is cruel and not ideal in any sense. Machiavelli is a prime example for a strong leader that pursues justice through unification and has shown to be very open-minded. Justice doesn’t just come through cruelty and strength, it also requires intelligence with careful studies. As exhibited in the prior quote, he takes in historical mistakes and success to shape his ideal. To have a culture with justice, Machiavelli pushes that “It is necessary for a prince who wish to maintain his position to learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge or not to use it accordingly” (224). It is quite evident that Machiavelli is willing to use the full extent of his power without fear. Through his willingness and open-mindedness, he examines both side, good and the bad, for the benefit of his country. He believes only those that can utilize both knowledge is fit for the position of being a prince. When he says knowledge, it goes deep into the studies of history and past experiences. It is shown time and time again throughout his
Niccolo Machiavelli is a very pragmatic political theorist. His political theories are directly related to the current bad state of affairs in Italy that is in dire need of a new ruler to help bring order to the country. Some of his philosophies may sound extreme and many people may call him evil, but the truth is that Niccolo Machiavelli’s writings are only aimed at fixing the current corruptions and cruelties that filled the Italian community, and has written what he believed to be the most practical and efficient way to deal with it. Three points that Machiavelli illustrates in his book The Prince is first, that “it is better to be feared then loved,”# the second
Relying on the needs of the society of that time, Machiavelli comes to the conclusion that the most important task is the formation of a single Italian state (Machiavelli 15). Developing his thoughts, the author comes to the following inference: only a prince can become a leader capable of leading people and building a unified state. It is not a concrete historical personality but someone abstract, symbolic, possessing such qualities that in the aggregate are inaccessible to any living ruler. That is why Machiavelli devotes most of his research to the issue of what qualities should the prince possess to fulfill the historical task of developing a new state. The written work is constructed strictly logically and objectively. Even though the image of an ideal prince is abstract, Machiavelli argues that he should be ruthless, deceiving, and selfish.
Niccolò Machiavelli is very well known as an important and influential Italian historian, politician, philosopher, and writer during the Renaissance. His book, Discourses on Livy, is a discussion regarding the classical history of early Ancient Rome, although it uses contemporary political examples and strays far away from the subject of Rome at times. It is presented as a series of lessons on how a republic should be started and structured. Most importantly, it constantly brings up the idea of corruption and corrupt people, which is not surprising because we all desire things and search for the simplest way to obtain it, even though the easiest way to obtain something might be a corrupt way.
Niccolo Machiavelli’s abstract work of The Prince discusses politics and government and focuses in not only acquiring power, but also how to maintain it. Throughout his work, one of the most prevalent yet disputed themes is between the acquirement of states between principalities and republics. The Prince shows a predominant and constant debate on which group will excel in acquiring power. However, despite Machiavelli’s harsh criticisms on principalities, his work does not solely praise or focus on the excellence of republics. In fact, as Machiavelli continues to speak and provide examples about the successes and failures of both republics and principalities, it becomes clearer that the lone purpose of The Prince is to merely provide tactics in political governance, instruction on how to maintain power once it is acquired, and most importantly, advice on how to become a great leader.
It is fundamentally important to preface the discussion hosted in this essay by addressing ourselves to the most mundane question-why consider Machiavelli in the context of philosophy, least of all, political philosophy? This question dominates any philosophical inquiries of the Machiavelli’s political ideologies. Put differently, do the contributions by Niccolò Machiavelli to the various salient discourses in the Western thought, most notably political theory, meet the requisite standard models of academic philosophy? Machiavelli essentially seems not to consider himself a philosopher. In fact, he overtly disapproved of any philosophical inquiries into his works. In addition, his credentials do not qualify him to be properly admitted within the realm of philosophy (NeDermAN, 2002).