Montaigne and Machiavelli’s Mission
Michel de Montaigne and Niccolò Machiavelli were revolutionary philosophers searching to understand human nature. Michel de Montaigne was a cultural relativist who believed no man was more savage than the next whereas Machiavelli believed everyman was savage and would do whatever it takes to achieve personal gain. Even though these revolutionary thinkers took very different approaches to addressing human nature they both showed traits of being enlightened monarchs and great thinkers who knew the power belongs to the people rather than the monarch. Michel de Montaigne and Niccolò Machiavelli were great leaders of their time but they knew most leaders and monarchs during European expansion were corrupt and viewed themselves above others. The elevated thinkers published many great works such as On the Cannibals or The Prince that were in a way guidebooks for men of the time depicting what they believed. Even though the men are nearly 100 years apart their humanistic beliefs on personal gain and expansion were revolutionary.
You can see connections betwixt the two men’s theory’s beginning with how they addressed the savage man. Michel de Montaigne used his experience with the cannibal people of Brazil to persuade people that the only way to understand a culture is to look at it through the eyes of that culture. Montaigne was one of the first philosophers to push the theory of cultural relativism and believed people shouldn’t judge cultures