A Dsicussion Of Machiavelli

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A Dsicussion Of Machiavelli’s View Of Social Control Essay, Research Paper In this essay I will first briefly discuss Machiavelli in the context of political thought as a whole, before giving an account of his life and the circumstances which caused to him to write ‘The Prince’, the most famous of his works. Secondly, I will examine the nature and importance of his ideas before deciding whether his views on morality deserve the degree of significance accorded to them by Berki. `Machiavelli lies outside the mainstream of European political thought for a number of reasons, and probably the main one is the fact that he broke away from methods used by medieval thinkers who believed that politics had its origins in theology. This can be explained by understanding the concept

of eternal law, which was believed to be a divine system which determined the nature of the universe and its contents. Natural law was the subset of eternal law which related to human beings, concerning their nature and ultimate purpose given to them by God, and the system of politics was therefore seen as the way to implement it, rather than as an activity in its own right. Machiavelli’s work represents a major departure from this belief that politics should be a mere instrument in preserving this natural law, and he also revives a school of thought belonging to the ancient Roman republicans. In common with the Romans, Machiavelli believed that politics was worthy of study because the only way that the world could be made a better place was to accept the harsh realities and

imperfections of life, and study the present situation in order to understand it, with assistance from the vast store of wisdom accumulated in human history. To this end, Machiavelli asked questions such as ‘How can governments be made strong?’ and ‘How can power be obtained and preserved most easily?’. It can be seen that his predecessors (and even some later political philosophers) were more concerned with defining abstract concepts such as the spiritual and temporal power, in order to ascertain man’s nature, rights and obligations under God. Machiavelli’s questions were about what he saw as the real world of politics, completely separated from previous ideals about man’s ultimate spiritual destiny, and this is why it can be argued that in the traditional sense he

is not a political philosopher. Machiavelli has sometimes been referred to as a political scientist, primarily because his concern lies with facts rather than abstract concepts and he is interested in man’s present state as opposed to a religious ideal of what man should be. In addition to this, he supports his arguments with a large amount of historical data, something which distinguishes him from nearly all other political thinkers. However, it can also be stated that Machiavelli’s work is not scientific because he does not use the method of hypothesis formation and testing, and most of his conclusions can be attributed to the personal experience he gained from being in the service of the state rather than through dedicated scientific study. `Machiavelli was born in 1469

into an Italy which was probably less feudal than any other European country of the time. `It was politically divided into a number of city states such as Florence and Milan, and it can be seen that these states were given much greater allegiance by their citizens than the country as a whole. Many of these fluctuated between being dictatorships and republics, and this is illustrated by the history of Florence, where tyrannical rule was exercised between 1429 and 1494 by the Medici family before the restoration of democracy by Savonarola in the same year that the French invaded Italy. `The divisions which existed between these states were further exacerbated by the frequent presence of foreign military forces such as those belonging to France and Spain, who helped various factions