The Prince Vs Machiavelli's

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Despite their different opinions on the role fear should play in preserving a political order Niccolo Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes both assert that fear is an important element of functional societies. Machiavelli’s The Prince primarily focuses on preserving and expanding a ruler’s position, while Hobbes’s Leviathan primary focus is on constructing an ideal commonwealth to escape the “state of nature”. Machiavelli believes that a ruler should use fear as a tool to maintain his position of power, while Hobbes believes that the use of fear should be to ensure the sanctity of contracts in a Commonwealth, the most important contractual obligations being the obligation between sovereigns and their subjects. Hobbes’s belief that fear should be used…show more content…
According to Machiavelli, a ruler should use fear as a tool to maintain the power of a prince, instead of as foundational piece for the construction of a political order. In The Prince, Machiavelli defines fear as the fear of punishment for not obeying the law of a ruler. Machiavelli states that "Fear is held by a dread of punishment that never forsakes you," (Machiavelli 67). According to Machiavelli, it is ideal for the subjects of a ruler to fear the ruler because he can enforce the punishment that he can enforce upon his subjects. Machiavelli upholds that fear of a ruler is essential for the successful maintenance of a political order and that a prince should actively seek to cultivate an image of fear to maintain his power. According to Machiavelli, “when the prince is with his armies and has a multitude of soldiers under his government, then it is above all necessary not to care about a name for cruelty because without this name he never holds his army united or disposed to any action" (Machiavelli 67). Machiavelli promotes rulers practicing cruelty because it inspires fear in a ruler. Essentially, This fear makes his subjects easier to control because they fear the retribution the ruler may bring down upon them for disobeying one of his laws or…show more content…
However, Hobbes’s also states that "The obligation to the sovereign is understood to last as long and no longer than the power last by which he is able to protect them can be relinquished by no covenant" (Machiavelli 124). This suggests that a sovereign’s power in a natural Commonwealth comes from his ability to protect the people from the “state of nature”. The subjects of a natural Commonwealth do not necessarily need to fear a ruler to believe that he possesses the ability to protect them from their true fear, a return to the “state of nature”. This indicates that while fear of a ruler might be a useful tool for a ruler to use to enforce his authority, it is not absolutely necessary for the preservation of a political
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