Niccolo Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes Comparison Essay by JPWrite

Niccolo Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes
This paper describes and compares the political philosophies of Niccolo Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes.
# 66019 | 3,765 words | 15 sources | MLA | 2005 | US

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This paper explains that Machiavelli lived during the Renaissance, nearly 150 years earlier than Thomas Hobbes, yet it was he who envisioned the basis for the political pragmatism of the twentieth century; while Thomas Hobbes, who lived in the 16th century, was a political materialist in the classical tradition of Plato and Galileo. The author stresses that Machiavellianism, as a term, has been used to describe the principles of power politics and the type of person who uses those principles in political or personal life is frequently described as a Machiavellian. The paper includes a comparison of the Table of Contents of "De Cive" by Thomas Hobbes and of "The Prince" by Machiavelli to demonstrate that Hobbes is looking for a universal law of politic; whereas, Machiavelli is looking for a practical means of surviving real politics. Several very long quotes.

From the Paper:

"For Machiavelli, historical change has two forms: (1) the motion of nature and, (2) the order or ordering that man intends. Nature's changes are unreliable; they can be good or bad, but man does not feel safe or grateful. Machiavelli lumps unreliable nature with fickle fortune as the first element of his view of the opposing forces of history. Human order, or as Machiavelli describes it, "orders and modes" (Preface), is devised by human virtu to overcome this sense of being at the mercy of nature or fortune and is the second element of the equation. Simply put, his context of history is a contest between virtu and fortuna. Machiavelli is not a mere observer of this contest. As a humanist historian, he bases his advice, or lessons if you will, on the contest. But unlike the other historians of his day, he does not teach the lesson by what was done, but rather by what should have been done. This clearly places Histories in the political instead of historical genre by modern standards."

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