Final paper

Final paper - Mike Badolato Professor Regan Core Humanities...

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Mike Badolato Professor Regan Core Humanities 12/08/05 Machiavelli’s Theory of Politics In the times of Aristotle and Plato views of human nature mainly revolved around the good of humankind. These humanist ideas of the time were in sharp contrast to those of Machiavelli. His understanding of human nature was a complete contradiction of what humanists believed and taught. Machiavelli strongly promoted a secular society and felt morality was not necessary but stood in the way of an effectively governed principality. In The Prince, Machiavelli states many of his ideas concerning human nature and what methods were best for gaining and keeping power. One major concept covered by Machiavelli was that of how a prince should act in order to gain and keep power effectively. Though humanists of Machiavelli's time believed that an individual had much to offer to the well being of the state, Machiavelli thought human nature was much more selfishly driven. Machiavelli generally distrusted citizens, stating that ". ..in time of adversity, when the state is in need of it's citizens there are few to be found"(Machiavelli, 2284). Because of this mistrust against humans Machiavelli derived various methods of rule that would keep these insubordinate tendencies under control. One way of doing this was for the Prince to be feared by the citizens.
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“Men worry less about doing an injury to one who makes himself loved than to one who makes himself feared. The bond of love is one which men, wretched creatures they are, break when it is to their advantage to do so; but fear is strengthened by a dread of punishment which is always effective”(Machiavelli, 2285). This quote demonstrates how fear is a greater asset then love for a Prince because men, who only look to benefit themselves, are sooner willing to break a bond based on love than fear because the threat of consequence weighs heavier. Men put personal gain higher then anything else. Another important topic concentrated on by Machiavelli was the best way to take over principalities. These principalities were broken up into two categories, hereditary principalities and new principalities. Machiavelli says that it is easier to govern a hereditary principality than a new principality for two main reasons. First, those under the rule of current principalities are familiar with a Prince’s rule and are therefore accustomed to such rule. The new Prince only has to keep past institutions intact, while adapting these institutions to his own methods. Second, in an existing principality citizens naturally love the ruler and unless the new Prince commits a horrible act against his people this love for authority would continue. A similar reason that taking over and existing principality is easier then taking over a new one is that the citizens in an existing principality commonly give up an existing ruler for a new one in hopes that the new one will be a better ruler than the present one. This theory arose from Machiavelli’s
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Final paper - Mike Badolato Professor Regan Core Humanities...

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