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Second Treatise And The Prince Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 1964 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Aside from their differences on a ruling power, Machiavelli, Marx and Locke had a common concern which was the improvement of society. John Locke is a great philosopher who gave men a piece which classified rights and man. Locke’s book, the Second Treatise which advocates natural rights, has been an examination of how the various sections of the society such as government, state and man must distinguish themselves and transfer out this identity. It is through this analysis that he pushes for protest against unjust rulers.

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On the other hand we have the great political thinker, Machiavelli, who although not having been a ruler himself, gives interesting advice to monarch his manuscript The Prince, which has instructions and just ideologies that makes a Prince more successful and effective in ruling a state. To be specific he promotes deception, fear and violence as keys to win sovereignty over a state.

This essay is to an extent an analysis of both the Second Treatise and The Prince in addition Marx’s Communist Manifesto on whether there are positions that the other disputes with the other or that it embodies the principle of the other chiefly capitalism. Thus, this paper aims to provide the key to the issue and assertions about whether John Locke, would claim that Nichollio Machiavelli symbolizes the interest of monarch who rule without the consent of the people, or that, Marx would dispute that Locke represents the principles of capitalism even before the emergence of modern industry.

Machiavelli, Locke and Marx are three of the great thinkers that the world has ever produced. Machiavelli, although never been a ruler himself, has been a great advice to monarch as evidenced by his book “The Prince,” which contain advices and ethical principles that makes a ruling monarch more effective at least in his own view.

John Locke is also a great thinker, provided human beings a work which identified man and rights. His book, the Second Treaties has been an analysis of how the different parts of the society such as man, state, and government must identify themselves and carry out this st.

This paper is rather an analysis of both ‘The Prince,’ and the ‘Second Treaties’ as well as the ‘Communist Manifesto’ on whether there are points that the other argues with the other or that it represents the ideology of the other particularly capitalism. Thus, it hopes that it is able to provide the answer to the question and claim about whether John Locke would argue that Machiavelli represented the interest of monarch who rule without the consent of the people, or that, Marx would argue that Locke represented the ideology of capitalism even before the emergence of modern industry.

Examination on Locke

Though Locke did not outright argue or mention that Machiavelli stands for the interest of “monarch who rule without the consent of the people, he did present his view of the different aspects of society during his own time which help us understand why Locke might have argued this. Granting all this, in Chapter III of the state or war, there was sort of a reference that Locke was aiming to Machiavelli’s portrayal that the Prince, “must have no other objective, no other thought, nor take up any profession but that of war, its methods and its discipline, for that is the only art expected of a ruler.” Locke rather set a view of the individual to have a freedom of himself and “for nobody can desire to have me in his absolute power unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against the right of my freedom.” He further discusses how in no way he can be subjected to another person’s power “without his own consent.” As you can see this is frankly contradictory to Machiavelli’s views on humans which says that people in general are ungrateful, unreliable cowards and all in all human nature gives little to hold with esteem. Machiavelli’s perception is a bit negative and desirable to rule not with being good or acting modest or else, they will become disloyal, but by inspiring fear and not love. Though it may be attractive to be both feared and loved at the same time, Machiavelli advocates that it is best to be feared only because of the nature of humans.

Taking civil authority into consideration, Machiavelli in the “The Prince” would propose that the ruler should use all his effort to control people and to have authority over them. Machiavelli sees a prince who does not have power as weak, destined to be unsuccessful and most of all vulnerable of being in danger of being attacked or deceived by any of his subjects. The reign of the prince is not founded on the conformity of the people to follow him or adhere to his wishes but in violence, deception and fear. A subject may see this ruler as a tormenter, but through Machiavelli he is one who is doing what’s best for the state for humans have the incapability of governing themselves properly. Whereas Locke, who recognized that “the natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man….but that established by consent in the commonwealth, not under the dominion of any will, or restraint…pg 17 locke”. The people only allowed themselves to be lorded over by a “legislative power but that established by consent in the commonwealth”; governed only by a power that is erected by the community of people.pg. 17 locke)

What is striking about Machiavelli’s The Prince, and Locke’s Second Treatise is that, Locke introduced a leader which is elected and approved by the majority, thus suggesting popular sovereignty, and endowed with authority by the community themselves; while the political philosopher, Machiavelli, accentuated an inherited leadership which must go through obstacles in order to gain power either by overpowering people, or instilling fear in them. As Machiavelli’s work proposes, one must “divide and conquer.” Consequently, John Locke would have the right to argue that Machiavelli represents the best interest of the monarch who rule without the consent of the people, because he sees that “Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived” and used according to what it pleases the prince. One thing that Machiavelli does not acknowledge is man’s worthiness or freedom. In his eyes he only saw people’s disadvantages not their innate potential. Thus, he establishes a dominion that forced men to subject them and to submit to a rule even if it is in opposition to their own beliefs or will.

For John Locke, a ruler should be agreed upon by the people and his authority is vested by them. Thus, their submission is by their willingness because, they approved it, decided it and established. Therefore, they supported his rule and they willingly submitted. On the other hand, a monarch or a prince can either be feared, hatred or loved by the people. But he can be both. For Machiavelli, the only way for a prince to survive is to have power. But to have power, he must be feared; he can only achieve this by being sometimes cruel and ruthless. Thus, in a sense, Machiavelli is truly representing interest of monarch who rules without the consent of the people.

The Communist Manifesto

As I analyzed John Locke’s Second Treaties of Government, Locke presented his views which I would say merely regarding the status of man in relation to the state and society. He said that man was born naturally with freedom and dignity and has the basic right not to submit himself either to an individual or to the state without his consent. That means that he is and cannot be obliged to be under one’s rule. The concept therefore, that Marx would argue that Locke represents the ideology of capitalism may not be accurate rather, Locke was merely concerned on the dignity and freedom of man as well as his role in society and in the state. The Communist Manifesto presented their views of men in relation to society and the state. The society with different classes, the poor and those engage in low income job they called it peasants while the rich bourgeois. They criticize the society for its unjust and unequal distribution of wealth and opportunities for improvement. They view modernization as disastrous citing the effects of machinery and the division of labor. They also noted the “concentration of capital and land in few hands, as well as over production and crisis.

They also emphasize the “inevitable distinction of bourgeois and peasants, the misery of the proletariat, the anarchy in production as well as the groan of injustice in the distribution of wealth.

In contrast of this pessimistic view, Locke merely discussed man’s inherent rights either to have property or to do business. The discussion about when can a property be considered owned by anyone seemingly provides a ground for capitalism but it rather points to one’s basic rights. That means that anyone has the opportunity to establish something either by what did he find or the mere product of the work of his hands.

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Thus, the premise that Locke repressed the ideology of capitalism may not really be correct for Locke has merely identified not just man in his relation to society or the state but his own rights as well in order to live a life that enjoys basic and inherent rights. It opens one’s mind towards knowing self and own right in the society.


The discussion of the three books, ‘The Prince’ of Machiavelli, the ‘Communist Manifesto’ of Marx, and the ‘Second Treaties’ of John Locke, have offered us different ideas with different emphasis. They have some differences but it may not enough to say the one is arguing or representing the ideology of the other. John Locke’s Second Treaties, I would say, was not intended to criticize or as reference for some thing against any established doctrine. Locke simply presented his view about men, the state, the society and everything with intention probably to help men identified himself in society so he could be able to live an ethical life. Locke has provided men an avenue by which he could be able to learn about his right and up to what extent this right maybe. Beyond this, I do not see that he represented any ideology for whatever intention.

Machiavelli on the other hand, had simply written the kind of culture or system that was prevailing during his time. He might have an intention to criticize the attitudes of the ruling monarch but his ideas confined only during his time though in later years, some notable persons had adopted his doctrines.

The Communist Manifesto on the other hand, merely presented their criticism of the system that society had adopted. They pointed out defects and cracks of the prevailing system of the society while may be introducing what is in their view, are appropriate and needed to have a balanced society.

Work Cited

Locke, John. (1690) Second Treaties. http://libertyonline.hypermall.com/Locke/second/second-frame.html

Machiavelli. “Summary of the Prince.” http://www.the-prince-by-machiavelli.com/the-prince-summary.html

Marx, Karl and Engels, Frederick (1848) Manifesto of the Communist Party.



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