Niccolò Machiavelli is very well known as an important and influential Italian historian,

600 WordsApr 23, 20193 Pages
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. When Machiavelli uses the term “corrupt” or…show more content…
It seems more difficult to change the regime. This is the source of corruption. When one class of society strives to better themselves and succeed in doing so, it causes corruption. Machiavelli spends a chunk of Discourses on Livy discussing how states are corrupt and the citizens within them are corrupt as well. The first important point he makes when it comes to corruption is that men do not know how to be entirely good or bad. He claims, “they concluded that men clearly do not know how to be honourably bad or perfectly good, and that when an evil deed contains in itself some grandeur or some generosity, they do not know how to carry it out” (Machiavelli 82). Thus, Machiavelli is elaborating on the theme of good and bad and how even those who are good and are not considered corrupt still make bad decisions sometimes. Generally, men decide on a middle course, instead of choosing a completely good or bad course. This decision is seen as most hazardous because it is hard to claim someone is good if they do not make entirely good decisions and it is hard to claim someone is bad if they do not make entirely bad decisions. The second important point Machiavelli makes is that men are easily corrupted and even those who are good can easily turn bad. He states, “It should also be noted, in this matter or the decemvirate, how easily men may be corrupted and how they may transform themselves and give

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