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OPTION C: Jefferson's The Declaration of Independence - Essay Example

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Name of student: Topic: Lecturer: Date of Presentation: Introduction The United States of America comprises of the thirteen states which were under the Great Britain colonial rule among other annexure from the West thereafter. For these thirteen colonies, it was a great struggle to obtain independence from the tyrannical rule of King George III…
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OPTION C: Jeffersons The Declaration of Independence
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"OPTION C: Jefferson's The Declaration of Independence"

Download file to see previous pages It was then followed by a period of war, civil disorder, and death in order to achieve the ends America sought to achieve. The question that needs to be answered is whether these means were justified by the end of achieving independence. This will be answered by discussing Jefferson’s declaration of independence and evaluating it against Machiavelli’s relationship between ends and means. Machiavelli’s means-end relationship is unique in nature as it makes us to move away from normal explanations of what is right or wrong; moral or immoral. According to him there is no escape from the weight of means and ends (Ramsay, 33). We often hear people while faced with certain difficult situations saying that the end does not justify the means but rarely have we ever thought of what that means. In reality, this means for example that one cannot result to stealing as a way of satisfying his/her needs as this would be considered immoral and punishable by law. Whatever the end is, one is not supposed to result to immoral behavior to achieve that end. However, this is not the case for Machiavelli. For him, people should consider what ends they want to achieve; it is bad or good and then decide the means to use to achieve the end. Some practical necessity according to Machiavelli dictates that “certain means will be required to achieve the end” (Ramsay, 34). In this case, even the use of immoral means to achieve a good end is justified. He also asserts that political ends such as ensuring state stability, maintaining order, holding down power and prosperity are never justified but given regardless of whether such ends are rational or good. These ends are also assumed to be universal as every human being needs them; for example, all of us need order and security so that we can live a happy and peaceful life (Ramsay, 34). Since the ends are universal and given, it is not for us to concern ourselves about whether the means to achieve them is moral or immoral rather, concern should be on the ruler himself. According to Machiavelli, a ruler should possess certain qualities to able to achieve those ends and these qualities are psychological and social as opposed to moral qualities (Ramsay, 34). A king therefore, does not have to be moral since the situation dictates that he uses whatever means to ensure the end is achieved. Furthermore, some moral means may end up harming the same people one is protecting while some immoral means may be of benefit to the people. For example, cruelty is immoral or a vice but can be used by a king to achieve unity and loyalty from subjects while being merciful may let an evil continue leading to harmful consequences. The same case applies to a parent disciplining a child, if one is overly merciful with the child then the likelihood of not correcting that child’s behavior is high but disciplining the child moulds his/her behavior provided it is not excessive. Machiavelli indicates that harming one person through cruelty is better than harming a group through murder or plunder which could have been prevented if the King acted sooner rather than exercising mercy. Cruelty here is thus considered a lesser evil which is necessary (35). This is not to say all ends are achieved through immoral means, other situations call for moral means and as such the King should not use it as an excuse to be virtuous. In Machiavelli’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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