Free Essay on Machiavelli's View of Human Nature

      Home  Free Paper Index

image of Machiavella

Enter Your Term Paper Topic Below:

Search For Your Essay At MONSTER ESSAYS!
     

  1. Essay Galaxy Archive, 45,000 + essays and term papers (highest quality)
  2. Monster Essay Archive, 40,000+ essays and term papers  
  3. Essay Archive, 35,000+ essays and term papers
  4. Free Term Papers and Book Reports Index  (Over 2500 good papers)

Free Esssay on Machiavelli's View of Human Nature (The Prince)

 

MACHIAVELLI'S VIEW OF HUMAN NATURE

 

In The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli presents a view of governing a state that is drastically different from that of humanists of his time. Machiavelli believes the ruling Prince should be the sole authority determining every aspect of the state and put in effect a policy which would serve his best interests. These interests were gaining, maintaining, and expanding his political power.1 His understanding of human nature was a complete contradiction of what humanists believed and taught. Machiavelli strongly promoted a secular society and felt morality was not necessary but in fact stood in the way of an effectively governed principality.2 Though in come cases Machiavelli's suggestions seem harsh and immoral one must remember that these views were derived out of concern Italy's unstable political condition.3

Though humanists of Machiavelli's time believed that an individual had much to offer to the well being of the state, Machiavelli was quick to mock human nature. Humanists believed that "An individual only 'grows to maturity- both intellectually and morally- through participation' in the life of the state."4 Machiavelli generally distrusted citizens, stating that "...in time of adversity, when the state is in need of it's citizens there are few to be found."5 Machiavelli further goes on to question the loyalty of the citizens and advises the Prince that "...because men a wretched creatures who would not keep their word to you, you need keep your word to them."6 However, Machiavelli did not feel that a Prince should mistreat the citizens. This suggestion once again to serve the Prince's best interests.

If a prince can not be both feared and loved, Machiavelli suggests, it would be better for him to be feared bey the citizens within his own principality. He makes the generalization that men are, "...ungrateful, fickle, liars, and deceivers, they shun danger and are greedy for profit; while you treat them well they are yours."7 He characterizes men as being self centered and not willing to act in the best interest of the state,"[and when the prince] is in danger they turn against [him]."8 Machiavelli reinforces the prince's need to be feared by stating:

Men worry less about doing an injury to one who makes himself loved than to one who makes himself feared. The bond of love is one which men, wretched creatures they are, break when it is to their advantage to do so; but fear is strengthened by a dread of punishment which is always effective.9

In order to win honor, Machaivelli suggests that a prince must be readily willing to deceive the citizens. One way is to "...show his esteem for talent actively encouraging the able and honouring those who excel in their professions...so that they can go peaceably about their business."10 By encouraging citizens to excel at their professions he would also be encouraging them to "...increase the prosperity of the their state."11 These measures, though carried out in deception, would bring the prince honor and trust amongst the citizens, especially those who were in the best positions to oppose him.

Machiavelli postulates that a prince must also deceive those who attempt to flatter him.
[In] choosing wise men for his government and allowing those the freedom to speak the truth to him, and then only concerning matters on which he asks their opinion, and nothing else. But he should also question them toughly and listen to what they say; then he should make up his own mind.12

Since each person will only advice the prince in accord to his own interests, the prince must act on his own accord. Machiavelli discourages action to taken otherwise "...since men will always do badly by [the prince] unless they are forced to be virtuous."13
Machiavelli actively promoted a secular form of politics. He laid aside the Medieval conception "of the state as a necessary creation for humankinds spiritual, material, and social well-being."14 In such a state,"[a] ruler was justified in his exercise of political power only if it contributed to the common good of the people he served, [and] the ethical side of a princes activity...ought to [be] based on Christian moral principles...."15 Machiavelli believed a secular form of government to be a more realistic type. His views were to the benefit of the prince, in helping him maintain power rather than to serve to the well being of the citizens. Machiavelli promoted his belief by stating:
The fact is that a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among those who are not virtuous. Therefore, if a prince wants to maintain his rule he must learn not to be so virtuous, and to make use of this or not according to need.16

Machiavelli's was that, "God does not want to do everything Himself, and take away from us our free will and our share of glory which belongs us."17

Having studied and experienced Italy's political situation, Machiavelli derived these views. He felt that his suggestions would provide a frame work for a future prince of Italy to bring about political stability. Machiavelli writes:

Italy is waiting to see who can be the one to heal her wounds, put and end to the sacking of Lombardy, to extortion in the Kingdom and in Tuscany, and cleanse those sores which have been festering so long. See how Italy beseeches God to send someone to save her from those barbarous cruelties and outrages; see how eager and willing the country is to follow a banner, if someone will raise it.18

Although Italy had become the center of intellectual, artistic and cultural development, Machiavelli did not feel these qualities would help in securing Italy's political future. His opinion was that Italy required a leader who could have complete control over Italy's citizens and institutions. One way of maintaining control of was to institute a secular form of government. This would allow the prince to govern without being morally bound. Machiavelli's view of human nature was not in accord to that of humanists who felt that an individual could greatly contribute to the well being of the society. Machiavelli, however felt that people generally tended to work for their own best interests and gave little obligation to the well being of the state. Although Machiavelli doubted that this form of government could ever be established it did appear several years after he wrote The Prince. Machiavelli has become to be regarded as "the founder of modern day, secular politics."19
--------------------------------------------------------------

 

1. Is It Better To Be Feared Than
Machiavelli was a man who was not worried about what was morally correct, but rather, what was politically deserved. He was in fact an honest and religious man, but he has become known for trickery 
2. Machiavelli's "The Prince": By Any Means Necessary
Part 15 of Machiavelli's The Prince, entitled Of the Things for Which Men, and Especially Princes, Are Praised or Blamed, states that, in order for a man to maintain control of a government and bett
3. Machiavelli's "The Prince": By Any Means Necessary
Part 15 of Machiavelli's The Prince, entitled Of the Things for Which Men, and Especially Princes, Are Praised or Blamed, states that, in order for a man to maintain control of a government and bett
4. Niccol? Machiavelli - The Qual
Machiavelli’s views on human nature are unjust; nevertheless, his philosophy, or rather instructions, is reasonable in capturing the selfishness of men. As written in The Qualities of the Prin
5. Niccol? Machiavelli - The Qual
Machiavelli’s views on human nature are unjust; nevertheless, his philosophy, or rather instructions, is reasonable in capturing the selfishness of men. As written in The Qualities of the Prin
6. Machiavelli's Works
Around Machiavelli?s time the papacy held much of the European power. Many popes held notoriously corrupt positions and mismanaged the entirety of Western Europe. They were the dictators during the
7. Machiavelli?s View Of Human Na
Machiavelli looks at man from a leader?s point of view. Machiavelli?s philosophy about the nature of man is that man possesses both good and bad qualities, but will lean towards his own self-interest
8. Machiavelli
's views revolved around the ideas that one must do anything within his ( did not refer to ?her') power to keep the influence and power that he has attained. For him, anything that must be done in 
9. Theprince By Machiavelli Chap
The Prince, by Machiavelli, was written for the Italian deMedici family and intended to be used as a guidebook for retaining political power. In the chapter entitled "That We Must Avoid Being Despis
10. Machiavelli's The Prince
Niccolo` Machiavelli was an Italian born in Florence in 1469, growing up in the ?golden age?, during the rule of Lorenzo. His father was a Florentine lawyer, coming from a family with old fashioned
11. Locke: Is This True Justice?
Justice is responsible for making sure the country is taken care of and that all dangers or problems be taken care of as well. It is essential that the citizens be treated equally, and they all get t
12. Machiavelli's The Prince: Views Of A Leader
In The Prince, Machiavelli offers his views on how a leader should rule his country based upon his past analysis of history. This advice was designed to help keep a ruler in power. Machiavelli had
13. Machiavelli - The Prince
The Prince, one of the most popular and well known doctrines of political thought was also one of the greatest works of Niccol? Machiavelli. First published in 1513, The Prince was written in respon
14. Machiavelli - Human Nature
In The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli presents a view of governing a state that is drastically different from that of humanists of his time. Machiavelli believes the ruling Prince should be the sole auth
15. Machiavelli's View Of Human Nature
In The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli presents a view of governing a state that is drastically different from that of humanists of his time. Machiavelli believes the ruling Prince should be the so
16. Machiavelli's View Of Human Nature
In The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli presents a view of governing a state that is drastically different from that of humanists of his time. Machiavelli believes the ruling Prince should be the sole au
17. Machiavelli's View Of Human Nature
In The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli presents a view of governing a state that is drastically different from that of humanists of his time. Machiavelli believes the ruling Prince should be the sole au
18. MACHIAVELLI'S VIEW OF HUMAN NATURE
In The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli presents a view of governing a state that is drastically different from that of humanists of his time. Machiavelli believes the ruling Prince should be the sole aut
19. Machiavelli
had a true and abiding love for Florence. He wanted to make Florence great and also find himself a job, as he lost his when the Medici family came into power. He dedicated his book on political sci
20. Review Of Machiavelli's The Prince
In trying to make leaders stronger and more effective, many writers have offered counseling for their leaders. Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince is an instruction manual for princes and kings. After