Essay on Hobbes and Machiavelli

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Hobbes and Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes were both great political philosophers of their times. Even though they lived in different eras, these men both produced works that would be considered highly influential on the formation of political theory and philosophy. The Prince and the Leviathan can each be viewed as representing the political views of their respective eras. These influential men laid a new foundation for modern political thought. In order to pave the way for future political theorists like Rousseau and Marx, these men needed to break away from classical philosophy if not partially then completely. Niccolo Machiavelli was born in Florence in 1469, only a little over a century before
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He introduces the two forms of government that existed at that time, which were republics and monarchies. He then divides monarchies into two categories: heredity monarchies which have existed for sometime, and new monarchies that have been established either through war or good fortune. The Prince deals entirely with monarchies because he addresses the topic of republics in another work. Heredity monarchies are much easier to rule than the new ones because the people are used to being ruled. They no longer have the desire to change their form of government. Yet if you acquire a new territory you need to get rid of any people who might make claims to the throne. You have to be very careful not to rule like a tyrant. You need to win your people over. He also says that it is best to live in the new territory you acquire. The people will more often than not be more loyal to you, and you can help keep some control over the new territory. The opening chapters of The Prince establish a pattern that Machiavelli follows throughout the book. He describes the principles that allow a monarch to retain power. Yet Machiavelli concerns himself mainly with the acquisition and retention of power. He sees common people as object that can be easily manipulated for the ruler's benefit. They have no rights. Anything that didn't keep the monarch in power or served to expand his power was of no consequence politically. Hobbes takes

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