Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) is one of the most ambiguous political scientist of the history. Some used to qualify him as being immoral because of his promotion of force and deception to protect a State. However, according to the researchers that have analyzed his works, he is the restorer of the Roman conception as civil wisdom [ ] and the founder of the theory of modern republicanism based upon this conception (Viroli, 1). He is also considered as the first writer to move way from the paternalism of traditional society, towards something closer to our own notions of democracy (Cohen, 33). Who is he in reality? What are his major goals? These are some of the questions that I will try to answer. Machiavelli was born in Italy. At this time, Italy was a wealthy, cultural, and politically stable country. It was divided into communes or oligarchies governed by princes or elite. Cities that choose another political system were rare but used to exist; one of these was Florence from which Machiavelli is rooted in.
[...] Machiavelli writes that the sage prince, in his judicious use of religion, will promote a belief in miracles, however false” (Sumberg, 127). Montesquieu, on the contrary, accuses only pagan religion to use false and foolish statements to convince people. Another difference appears when we read in Machiavelli that religion “change two or three times every 6000 years” (Sumberg, 127). This implies that religion is not a divine gift, it is only a human creation. Montesquieu agrees with that. However, he does not accept Machiavelli's idea of the inevitable disappearance of religions after 2000 or 3000 years. [...]
[...] However, Machiavelli was not influenced by the medieval philosophers who believed in that power has to be distributed according to religion among popes or emperors. He believes that “power is available to all and any who are skilful enough to size (Cohen, 43). Once again, we see how Machiavelli is really concerned with political freedom. Thomas Hobbes and Nietzsche agree with Machiavelli idea that men is only political in “being a lover of power and reputation” (Cohen, 43). Machiavelli considers that masses are necessary for the spread of democracy, while Nietzsche thinks that most people need a hero or a superman to rule them. [...]
[...] In the Discourses, Machiavelli is very cynical about human nature. He declares that are easily corrupted, passing from one ambition to another, and, having first striven against ill-treatment, inflict it next upon others” (Cohen,41). He adds that men are always unsatisfied and that they tend to take bad decisions because they are so confused about what choices to make. Machiavelli declares that “politics has to provide a shelter against the evils that torment men's life, beginning with ambition and avarice, the causes of discord and avarice” (Viroli, 15). [...]
[...] The fact that Machiavelli is one of the precursor of democracy and the system of checks and balances made him appears even more fascinating and interesting to study. Personally, I used to have a very bad image of Machiavelli, but after having done my research, I rapidly changed my mind. I think now that Machiavelli is even more worth to discover, with his terrible principle but also his wonderful ideas. References Cohen, M (2001). Political Philosophy: From Plato to Mao. London. [...]
[...] However, all these kinds of government do not satisfy Machiavelli. He considers that the ‘good' types have a short existence, and the ‘bad' ones because of the wrong way of governing. Thus, he proposes a mixture of all of these that hold the principles of the three ‘good' types, with power is shared between the nobles, people this power will only be substantial- and the prince. Thus, faults will be minimized, and each one can keep control over the other. [...]
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