Hobbes vs Machiavelli

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Niccolò Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes are both realists. Their works might be referred to as cruel or immoral because of their division of politics and ethics in their respective political theories. Although they lived centuries apart their works carry immense similarities with regards to use of force and violence. Both these theories declare violence, force and fear as necessities for maintaining a strong government, although the means in which they are carried out and justified differ. Their overarching beliefs dealing with human nature and structure of government are relatively similar, with slight variations, while the most distinct differences within their ideologies appear when analyzing the purpose of government. Machiavelli and Hobbes’ portrayals of human nature are both quite pessimistic, their main observation being that men are self-interested. This is understandable considering they both wrote at times of turmoil: The Prince was written for the Medici family during the upheaval of the Italian Wars and Hobbs wrote Leviathan in the wake of the Civil War in England. Machiavelli argued that humans were good only when it served their self-interest, claiming that men are “are ungrateful, fickle, pretenders, and dissemblers, evaders of danger, eager for gain (Machiavelli p. 66)” Machiavelli explains that “it is a very natural and ordinary thing to desire to acquire (Machiavelli p.14)” thus, maximizing power is part of human nature and self-gain often outweighs morality. Hobbes shares this stance but portrays human nature as more inherently brutal. Hobbes introduces what he calls a “State of Nature”. In the simplest of terms, the state of nature is a state of anarchy. It is a constant state of "war of every man against every man, (Hobbes p.185)" in which people constantly seek to destroy one another. He argues that men not only desire to acquire but also that
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