Machiavelli's Singular Political Philosophy Comparison Essay by Pshadow

Machiavelli's Singular Political Philosophy
A comparison of Machiavelli's "Discourses on Livy" and "The Prince".
# 57852 | 1,612 words | 3 sources | APA | 2005 | US

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Machiavelli's "The Prince" is by far his most famous, or to some, infamous of his works. Widely read for centuries, the "end justifies the means" mantra has been the inspiration for tyrants and the antithesis of the moral. Upon reading his lesser known "Discourses," one may first be surprised at the tome's staunch republican stature and sometimes impassioned defense of the cause of liberty. This diversion from the cold absolutism of the "Prince" might lead many to even think that Machiavelli's works contradict one another, that there are, in essence, "two Machiavellis". Although this may seem to be true, with careful reading of both works one can begin to see that Machiavelli holds a singular personal political philosophy to which the words of both works offer their full support. This paper examines Machiavelli's thoughts from both works on ideals, morals, and most importantly, power and glory. Finally, the paper engenders some speculation on the man himself and his likely motives for writing these two works, which seem, superficially at least, to point in opposite directions.

From the Paper:

"For Machiavelli, what is truly good is that which is benefits the state, not what is good for individuals, except in the case of a prince where his individuality is inseparable from the state. He seems to suggest that morals that refine the behavior of individuals can not apply to behavior of states and princes, rejecting "a politics that is subservient to moral codes and is therefore itself a threat to the very conditions that allow morality to exist." Machiavelli believes that it is only through the unfettered power of the state that a society gains the luxury of being able to live moral lives, and the leaders of that society are therefore exempt from the moral standards of the common men."

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

Machiavelli's Singular Political Philosophy (2005, April 19) Retrieved September 29, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Machiavelli's Singular Political Philosophy" 19 April 2005. Web. 29 September. 2022. <>