Erasmus Vs Machiavelli

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In the early sixteenth century there were two people that wrote about political power and the correct way to rule, both of these people would have great influence on their time period as well as future ones. Machiavelli was a secretary who worked for the Medicis, after the Medici family was expelled from the city he would reflect on what he thought of politics and how he thought they should be by writing The Prince, it would become a very famous book even in the present day. His viewpoint on ruling was that a ruler must do whatever they can in order to improve the state no matter what, or in his words “The ends justify the means”(The Prince). Erasmus was a Dutch intellectual and leader of the Christian humanists who wrote a treatise on political…show more content…
Both of these highly influential authors had different opinions on ruling that would shape how people would rule during their time and for rulers to come.
One of Machiavelli’s major points in The Prince was that it was better to be feared than to be loved. He said this was because while both ways can be useful tools to help one rule, men are less likely to turn a ruler if they were afraid of punishment. Machiavelli had little faith in the common man and had this to say about them, “They are ungrateful, fickle, deceptive and deceiving, avoiders of dangers, eager to gain”(pg.353). Machiavelli believed that men will follow a ruler as long as the ruler serves their interests, and a quick to turn against the ruler unless they fear great punishment. Machiavelli would say that it is best to be feared rather than loved as long as the fear does not cause hate, which he believed to be perfectly possible.
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Various reasons prove this, though the people believe that they are better best served before the state, history only shows the most benevolent and the most hated rulers. So if a ruler rules just to be well-liked history does not show that they had any significance because none of the people are left to remember what acts of kindness they performed. If a leader is feared but provides huge expansion and sets up their state to be successful in the future they are remembered as important to causing their state to be the way it is today. In truth, all people serve to their own interests and will turn on anyone who goes against it unless they are controlled. It is nearly impossible to control people with their love for ruler because they will not love the ruler once the ruler goes against their interests, but if they fear the ruler they will fear going against them and stay under the influence of their ruler. Machiavelli has the most correct ideas on both controlling the people as a ruler and on being remembered as a great one. These two viewpoints had great influence during their time and for centuries to come, both with modern ideas and correct ideas even though they had a lot of contrast. Machiavelli’s The Prince may be thought of the more recognizable of the two in the present, but people in the present day have many of the same ideas that
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