Thomas Hobbes and Niccolo Machiavelli Essay

1165 WordsDec 6, 20125 Pages
Thomas Hobbes and Niccolo Machiavelli Throughout history, countless kingdoms have crumbled as a result of neglectful and inadequate ruling. Niccolo Machiavelli is one man who proposed a guide to avoid this fate when he dedicated his The Prince to Lorenzo de Medici. Machiavelli was certain that when applied, his guide would guarantee a prince’s success. Thomas Hobbes would not be as quick to call his Leviathan a “guide,” nor was his intent to suggest he knew what an ideal kingdom was. That being said, Hobbes’ proposed concept of nature between men connects to the topics discussed by Machiavelli in a number of ways. Fear, morality, and self-interest are fundamental concepts covered by both Niccolo Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes. Which of these men have a better understanding of what makes a peaceful nation? Hobbes is anything but coy when he introduces the topic of human nature; “if any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies. (29)” In other words, at the first sight of conflict, man will not think twice before attacking if it is to his benefit. As he continues his broad claim, Hobbes suggests that peace can only be achieved along side “fear of death. (32)” Hobbes is describing a nation where the inhabitants fear he who is in charge. Without these fears, Hobbes infers that chaos will break out; this relates to the importance of laws, which will be discussed later. In a similar fashion, Machiavelli suggests the same innate corrupt behavior of man when he advises that a prince should not completely trust those beneath him. Suggesting that a prince “should put the well being of the state before all else, (48)” a prince is given reason for his pessimism: for the sake of his nation. Machiavelli’s primary philosophy when it comes to this topic is that the prince must assume everyone is bad, to avoid mishaps.

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