Machiavelli And Matin Luther: Shaping Modern Political Theory

1791 words - 8 pages

Niccolò Machiavelli and Martin Luther: Shaping Modern Political Theory
By: Andrew Plotnikov
Hist 151-001
I pledge that I received no unauthorized assistance in the completion of this work


Martin Luther and Niccolò Macchiavelli were two European figures in the early sixteenth century who recognized crises of leadership and authority in Europe. Machiavelli and Martin Luther were arguably two of the greatest reformist minds of early 1500s, and their reactions to the crises of leadership present in their countries through their writings led to tremendous political and religious advancements; through their analyses of legitimate rule in The Prince ...view middle of the document...

This cemented the feeling that the provinces of Italy simply could not compete with the stronger, centralized Northern powers that had emerged since Italy’s dominance during the Renaissance period. Machiavelli found the solution to this problem in a dominant, unified principality, and he devoted his book The Prince to prescribing the rules of successful governance to any autocrats in such a government. Machiavelli expounded his political reality as a world in which morality was neither useful nor expedient for the founding or maintenance of government.
The Renaissance period leading up to Machiavelli’s time was marked by the revival and application of classical – and especially Aristotelian – philosophy, which primarily attributed qualities shared in harmony among a society’s people as binding them in unity and stability. Machiavelli instead commended princes displaying values of ruthlessness, calculation, and cunning.
In The Prince, Machiavelli created a set of ultra-cynical, pragmatic guidelines for an autocrat to hold legitimate power and to conduct his state efficiently. He first broke down and attacked traditional Aristotelian ideology, deeming that the real world cannot operate on ideals, stating that “the gulf between how one should live and how one does … is so wide that a man who neglects what is actually done moves towards self-destruction,” (Machiavelli, 50) further arguing that “because of conditions in the world, princes cannot have [all qualities deemed good]” and that “some things that appear to be vices will bring him security and prosperity” (Machiavelli, 51). Machiavelli then gave significant insight into his image of human nature. “One can make this generalization about men: they are ungrateful, fickle, liars, deceivers,” he wrote, “while you treat them well, they are yours … but when you are in danger they turn away” (Machiavelli, 54). In these sweeping statements Machiavelli clearly departed from conventional thought and opted instead for a new line of practical rules for autocrats seeking success in governance. His princes would rule absolutely through shrewd diplomacy. For instance, he wrote “if you do … earn a reputation for generosity you will come to grief” because generosity leads to “impos[ition of] extortionate taxes” (Machiavelli, 51) on his subjects to fund useless generosity, drawing their hatred in the process. Compassion leads to disorder because too much breeds crime, and “by making an example or two [princes] will prove more compassionate by maintaining order and unity” (Machiavelli, 53). Most audacious was Machiavelli’s claim that princes should choose fear over love from his subjects because “men break their gratitude to princes when it is advantageous to do so, but fear is strengthened by dread of punishment which is always effective” in keeping loyalty (Machiavelli, 54). Filtering Machiavelli’s shockingly realist, amoral approach to rule, he consistently showed the power individuals hold:...

Other Essays Like Machiavelli and Matin Luther: Shaping Modern Political Theory

Modern Polotics Essay

1711 words - 7 pages Politics have come a long way from Niccolo Machiavelli in the late 1400’s to current political philosophers of the twentieth century.  Many of those great theorists had one single thing in common: they have strived to break old concepts of political thought, being it racial and gender inequality, or ideas on how to be a leader with less opposition. In modern politics, after a long period of centralized governments, the brief trend of gaining

Political Life Of Niccolo Machiavelli Essay

649 words - 3 pages Niccolo Machiavelli was an Italian statesman, writer, and political theorist. He was born Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli on May 3, 1469 in Florence, Italy. He grew up with his parents, Bartoloma and Bernardo, and two sisters, along with a younger brother. He began his education at the age of seven, learning the principles of Latin grammar and rhetoric. He also learned arithmetic later as a teenager. There was not much more known about

A short essay describing what "Political Power" is

506 words - 3 pages Political science is a very complex and elaborate science. The concept of political power, considered by the Renaissance philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli as the core of political science, seems to lack a definitive explanation even with the presence of theories such as: the biological, the psychological, the cultural, the rational, and the irrational. Many would take the defense of a theory over another, but on the other hand, these theories can

'Tis Better to Be Feared

458 words - 2 pages Is it more effective for a ruler to be feared or loved? This question has arisen ever since the birth of human civilization, yet it has never been answered and agreed upon unanimously.In 1513, political philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli wrote that "it is much safer to be feared than loved if one of the two has to be wanting," because "human beings are by nature selfish, cowardly, and dishonest." Many people would disagree with Machiavelli and

Where Would the World Be Without Mlk Jr

1190 words - 5 pages that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others. This theory was expressed in the 1900s with many people in the United States. Due to this term, many strong individuals, such as, Martin Luther King Jr., created the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. It was accompanied by much civil unrest and popular

Critically Evaluate Post War Realist Explanation of International Politics with Reference to Power

2541 words - 11 pages ” Introduction The tradition of political realism – realpolitik, power politics – has a long history that is typically traced back to the great Greek historian Thucydides in the fifth century BC. Although dominant attitudes towards realism have varied, realist arguments and orientations have been central to the Western theory and practice of international relations. “In particular, “modern” international society, whether dated from the era

AP world study sheet the west encounters Americas

530 words - 3 pages Renaissance an became the father of modern political theory. What were the Causes and Effects of the Protestant Reformation? -One of the main causes of the protestant reformation was Martin Luther’s 95 thesis which stated everything corrupt with the church, including the selling of indulgences. Luther’s protest, which was rebuffed by the papacy, soon led him to challenge many catholic beliefs, including the authority of the pope. Due to this

Machiavelli Vs LaoTzu

1156 words - 5 pages to rise to that position; and on the other hand, it is evident that when princes have given more thought to personal luxuries than to arms, that have lost their state." He explains to his audience that a prince must always focus on his priorities because when he focuses on his personal life, he will have lost his power.In addition, Machiavelli argues that a prince may have to be cunning and deceitful in order to maintain political power. He takes


1037 words - 5 pages fear is more reliable and stable against the actions of leaders that choose tactic of love, since it's not as easily broken or lost. Others may say fear can create corruption and power-hungry leaders, leading to unhappy people in an unsuccessful society. The Prince, written by Niccolo Machiavelli in 1513, explains how the primary goal of a prince should be to obtain and keep power.When Machiavelli wrote The Prince he dedicated it to Cesare

How Far Were the Actions of the African Americans the Main Reason for the Advancement of the Civil Rights in the Period 1865-1980?

4828 words - 20 pages open to different ideas and to interpret why African Americans used the actions they did. John A kirks book - Martin Luther King unmasked who the man behind the “Great man theory” and myths really was. This book gave me a strong foundation of background on the very beginning of Kings life to the end and his role in the advancement of civil rights and how his actions confirmed African Americans were the main reason for the advancement of Civil

Martin Luther King I Have a Dream

1182 words - 5 pages Martin Luther King ‘I have a dream’ Chief Seattle-Letter to the United States President Analysis and Comparison During the mid-20th century,racism was a huge issue in the United States.The most prominent was the racism towards African-Americans.Although all blacks were supposed to be free from slavery ,under a corrupt law system,people of colour were victimized mercilessly. Matin Luther King was a Christian church minister ,and believed in

Related Papers

Niccolo Machiavelli: The Father Of Modern Politics

998 words - 4 pages late 1400s early 1500s. He is often referred to as the “father of modern political theory” (Nederman, 2009). His book The Prince (2011) had such an influence its’ theories are still in practice today. This paper will prove Machiavelli is not a Visionary leader nor is he ethical through his theory as written in his book the Prince, and its relevance through personal experience. Let’s begin by discussing Machiavelli’s visionary leadership. It

Machiavelli's The Proince Essay

920 words - 4 pages Machiavelli’sThe Prince Niccolo Machiavelli lived in Florence, Italy in the 1400’s. The country of Italy was divided into city-states that had their own leaders, so it was a time where great leaders were needed in order to help the development of a city-state and country. Machiavelli had a theory that man needed a leader to control them. In his book The Prince, he speaks of the perfect leader, where he basically gives the reader a how-to

Nicolo Machiaveli Essay

1257 words - 6 pages Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (I3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527) was an Italian historian, philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. A founder of modern political science, he was a diplomat, political philosopher, playwright, and a civil servant of the Florentine Republic. He also wrote comedies, carnival songs and poetry. His personal correspondence is renowned in the Italian language. Strauss (1958:11) notes

Machiavelli And The Ethics Of Morality And Politics

1553 words - 7 pages In The Prince the seeds of a new political and ethical order can be acquired from the study of history and current events. The Renaissance represented a renewal of interest in Greek and Roman classical times. This interest manifested itself into a movement which took hold in the humanities. Machiavelli, a well-known Italian humanist and political philosopher, not only intended to address Lorenzo de Medici and the other rulers of his time