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Machiavelli: The Prince and St. Thomas More: Utopia - Essay Example

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Machiavelli is the father of Modernity and Democracy and the creator of Secular Man par excellence (Eidelberg, n.d.). The civilization before was greatly influenced by classical Greek philosophy and Christianity.Machiavelli undertook the historical task of destroying these influences…
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Machiavelli: The Prince and St. Thomas More: Utopia
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Download file to see previous pages Machiavelli is the father of Modernity and Democracy and the creator of Secular Man par excellence (Eidelberg, n.d.). The civilization before was greatly influenced by classical Greek philosophy and Christianity.Machiavelli undertook the historical task of destroying these influences. Machiavelli wrote in The Prince the qualities that is necessary for a prince to have. In the list of the qualities that a prince or ruler should have, he excluded the four cardinal virtues of Greek political philosophy. Wisdom, justice, moderation and courage were not included in the Prince and religion was even paired with skeptism and placed at the last. Without justice from the qualities, a radically new political science immerged in history. This is the birth of “realism.” As opposed to the classical political philosophy, modern political science takes its bearing from how man should live and not from how men do live (Eidelberg, n.d.). Machiavelli wrote in Chapter 12 that ““The principal foundations which all states have, whether new, old, or mixed, are good laws and good arms. And because there cannot be good laws where there are not good arms, and where there are good arms there must be good laws, I shall omit reasoning on laws and speak of arms.” This is where the doctrine of legal realism or positivism started which is adapted by the democratic world. Today, Machiavelli is still regarded with horror especially by those who believe in “idealism” or self-righteous. He was regarded as someone without morals, religion and conscience. But Machiavelli refused to judge political reality by the standards of the church or religion. He is arguing that the existence of God does not rule out self-initiative. At the very end of The Prince, he counsels that “the rest must do for yourself”, “God does not wish to do everything, in order not to take from us our free will and that part of the glory which is ours.” He is not saying that God does nothing and man everything or vice versa. He does not think exclusively of things, that a choice of one means exclusion of the other. According to Machiavelli, it is more important to make decisions based on correct estimate of actual conditions in the world rather than based the decisions on idealizations (Nyquist, n.d.). Machiavelli lived in an era of terrible corruption in church. That is why his book can be seen as somewhat against the church. He despised what was happening during his time. The corrupt, proud and hypocritical clergy existed during his time, but he did not wish to dispose of the papacy. Machiavelli assigned the role of religion in society. His concern was always the welfare of his country. He knew that the political world can never be perfect and that time will come that there is no other choice but to choose between bad and worse. ST. THOMAS MORE: UTOPIA More’s Utopia is a story about how he put into words his imaginations of the Island of Utopia. It is a world of dreams, the one beyond existence. It is perfect without problems and everyone is equal. It is a world where no unloving relationships existed and no classification between societies took place. The characters were fictional but these portray the true values of the European societies during the 16th century. He showed how societies should be, through the character of Raphael Hythloday. More may not be the founder of the modern political science, but his works suggested the developments of the modern political science. The character of Hythloday gives his opinions on a wide range of topics. Having toured Europe, Hythloday believes that many European customs are morally inferior to Utopian customs. According to More, the Utopians are more morally developed people though they are not Christians. Raphael’s character focuses on political and economic issues. These issues include the distribution of labor, capital punishment for thieves, land reform, and the abolition of private property. More was one of the most famous humanists who advocated wide social, political ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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