Thomas More’s Utopia and The Prince by Machiavelli are clearly different texts, especially in their approach towards political and governmental reform. This distinction is made apparent through More’s idealism versus Machiavelli’s pragmatism. More’s political reform suggests a utopian, ideal, and almost perfect society governed by an equally good governmental system which is based on high moral standards and human happiness. On the other hand, Machiavelli suggests a government where those in power take advantage of the circumstances, manipulate society, and take advantage of their power in order to ensure security, peace, and well-being. Although Machiavelli’s approach does not meet the Utopian moral standards and seems to be unethical, I think
The reason for this great variation is different decision making process. Gilgamesh on the one hand does whatever he desires, without taking any individual interests into account. On the other hand, Hobbes puts forward the idea of commonwealth, in which men enter into covenants and agree with one another. “The commonwealth may use the strength and means of them all, as he shall think appropriate, for their peace and common defense ( Hobbes 79 ).” In this way, the society will acquire peace and harmony. The comparison between individual and society is considered significant is because individuals live and act within a society.
In 1513, Niccolo Machiavelli wrote “The Prince,” telling rulers how they should rule. (Document 1) Many of the ideas in his book are shown in the ways these rulers governed their people. King Louis XIV believed if there were multiple people had power more would take advantage of it (Document 3) which is a major idea from “The Prince,” stating “for love is held by a bond of obligation, which, as men are wicked, is broken whenever personal advantage suggests it.” (Document 1). Machiavelli’s book also suggests that a ruler should be feared by everyone that dares to face him. At this time, one ruler appeared to be more daunting than a chain of command.
When a society develops, it will become necessary for a government to compensate for the eventual defect of moral virtue in individuals. However, as this is what is necessary for government to supply, that is the extent the government should be involved according to Paine. The freedom and security of a society is the aim of a government, aims which should not be overstepped. This concept of limiting government to its intended purpose is seen most clearly in the libertarian movement in modern times. Libertarianism is still keenly influenced by Paine’s anti-Federalists sentiments within this paper simply applied to modern issues.
Machiavelli, in his medieval philosophy and political thought from the prince, departs from the ‘approaches of others’, with the cynical doctrine ‘the ends justifies the means’, viewing power politics through successful princely behaviour, with scheming, shrewd, manipulative, and egotistical, private profit-cantered genre of leadership practices. This is contrasted with Salisbury’s moral and political philosophy in the ‘Policraticus’, which adopts the Ciceronian moderate perspective to offer an unselfish and egalitarian leadership system, with its marked proclivities for sociologically democratic, classless and common good philosophies. Machiavelli, in his Politics, claims that deceits and hypocrisy, are legitimate approaches in politics, hitherto he does not overlook ill-advised uses of them. Therefore, a prince should embrace good virtues and qualities such as “merciful, faithful, humane, sincere, religious” (Machiavelli, 1988); just appear to have them. Machiavelli emphasizes the importance of having the qualities of both the fox and the lion in order to rule as best as possible, “One needs, then, to be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten away wolves” (Machiavelli, 1988).
In the beginning, Machiavelli says the ruler should not be concerned with what his people want; however, this does not mean the ruler should not be concerned about having support from his people. Machiavelli simply means a ruler should not go about understanding exactly what the people want and trying to fulfill the needs of the people. A ruler should know whether or not this support exists, and if it does not, he should go about his own ways to acquire this support. Machiavelli talks about different methods to gain this support, but mostly he stresses the importance of the support in helping maintain a calm and controlled rule. Internal support and agreement is crucial in any form of rule.
The Prince The essay The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli, is considered the basis for modern politics and is still very relevant today. He provides means of how how prince should govern and come to power. Machiavelli’s theory is that there is no “good” or “bad” in politics, that the only thing that matters is the stability of the state. A Pulitzer Prize winner, Jared Diamond says Machiavelli is “ a crystal-clear realist who understands the limits and uses of power.” Diamond says that The Prince is still very relevant today because Machiavelli insists “that we are not helpless at the hands of bad luck.” Machiavelli starts The Prince out by giving descriptions on which types of kingdoms are easier to rule. Kingdoms that are hereditary, they are easy to rule but difficult to take and a kingdom that is easy to take is difficult to rule.
Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, is a gift to Lorenzo de Medici, the future prince at the time. Machiavelli spent a very long time compiling information about the decisions rulers have made in the past to determine the best way to rule a kingdom. He took many examples from leaders like King Ferdinand, King Charles VIII, and Emperor Maximilian II. He used these examples to determine how a prince should act and what qualities they should have. According to Machiavelli's The Prince, the qualities a prince should possess are deception, military knowledge, and wisdom.
They both emphasize the importance of “virtue” as the main quality of a ruler. According to Aristotle the virtue of the rulers is more important that the approval of the citizens. He states that “all should joyfully obey such a ruler, according to what seems to be the order of nature” (as cited in Ebenstein and Ebenstein, 2000, p. 79). Confucius’ ruler should act with love and concern for the others and people follows him for his quality not because of laws or the fear of punishment. People who do not act virtuously feel shame for
These actions will be justified, even in case of human losses, if the goal will be achieved. Machiavelli also defends wars in case of the statement “ends justify the means”. In the Chapter 14 he claims that “prince ought to have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else for his study, than war” (Machiavelli 67). This attitude helps the governor to keep officials and other people on tenterhooks so they will not be able to think about other things like the rebellion. Machiavelli understood such position will cause many human tolls both in the governor’s country and on the enemy’s side.