Niccolo Machiavelli Essay by ccw92985

Niccolo Machiavelli
A review of Niccolo Machiavelli's theories on human nature and society in his books, "The Prince" and "Discourses".
# 99764 | 1,240 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2005 | US
Published on Nov 28, 2007 in Political Science (Machiavelli, Niccolo) , Philosophy (History)

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This paper discusses Niccolo Machiavelli's comments on government, human nature and society in his books, "The Prince" and "Discourses". It describes the most significant parallel between Machiavelli's principles on government and his principles in the humanist tradition. It then shows the points of disagreement between the humanists and Machiavelli. Finally, the paper suggests that his philosophy still applies to modern government.

From the Paper:

"Niccolo Machiavelli comments on government, human nature, and society in his books, The Prince and Discourses. While many of Machiavelli's theories are in concordance with the humanist philosophical movement, many of his theories including his overall perception of the human nature diverge from humanism. In The Prince, Machiavelli examines the principles of political leaders and proposes ways in which aspiring political leaders can acquire the most political success possible. The Prince reflects Machiavelli's humanistic mentality in that he is well versed in Latin, he deliberately excludes religious content, and places high emphasis on the potential of the individual. However, his philosophy strays from the humanist tradition when he discusses the general moral depravity of most humans. Humanists typically focused on human dignity and pride in moral thought and behavior. Machiavelli on the other hand, proposed that the ends justify the means regardless of morality. Similarly, in Discourses, Machiavelli focused on the importance of freedom of citizenry above all else. He included graphic accounts of the tragic fate of previous governments in which freedom was restricted. Machiavelli, like his humanist contemporaries, had faith in the ability of humans to make rational decisions concerning their government and ruler. Discourses and The Prince contain both humanist ideals and non-humanist ideals; as a result, his revolutionary and ingenious works have received great fame and scrutiny since his death."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Guarino, Battista. "De Ordine Docendi et Studendi." 1459.
  • Machiavelli, Niccolo. Discourses. c. 1520
  • Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. 1513.
  • Petrarch, Francis. "The Ascent of Mount Ventoux." 1350.

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