Liberty and Ideal Forms of Government in Machiavelli and Hobbes Comparison Essay

A comparison and contrast of Machiavelli's and Hobbes' proposed ideal forms of government.
# 150143 | 2,047 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2005 | US

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The paper explains how both Niccolo Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes devised their own ideal forms of government based upon their definitions of the concept of liberty. This paper compares and contrasts Machiavelli's and Hobbes' definitions of liberty and examines the implications of the differences between them as well as the probable effectiveness and practicality of their respective ideal forms of governments.

From the Paper:

"In his Discourses on Livy, Machiavelli describes liberty as the absence of domination (Machiavelli 122). By domination, Machaivelli means the imposition of the will of rulers upon their people, whether the rulers in question are natives or conquering foreigners. He uses the ancient Spartan and Roman models of government as contrasting examples. In his analysis, he finds that Sparta's limited republic with a strong executive ensured internal stability (126), but that it also caused a persistent weakness within the state, due to stagnation resulting from anti-immigration policies and Sparta's lack of a citizen army. These policies served to prevent internal dissention as a result of new and foreign concepts of government gaining support, but they also kept the Spartan city-state itself small in size and scope, despite its relatively wide sphere of influence in ancient Greece. Rome, on the other hand, created citizen armies to defend itself and encouraged immigration. Roman policies caused many of the "disturbances" (127) between the nobility and the people that Sparta had avoided, but these policies also served to secure the city from external attack, as it benefited from the protection of a large citizen army. Machiavelli argues that the Roman form of republicanism, with its balance among the powers of the populace, the nobility and the executive, both protected Rome against external assault and the helped to preserve the liberty of the people."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. Ed. C. B. MacPherson. Penguin Books: London, 1985.
  • Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince and the Discourses. Random House: New York, 1950.

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

Liberty and Ideal Forms of Government in Machiavelli and Hobbes (2012, January 29) Retrieved February 23, 2024, from

MLA Format

"Liberty and Ideal Forms of Government in Machiavelli and Hobbes" 29 January 2012. Web. 23 February. 2024. <>