The Machiavelli Influence During The Renaissance Politics Essay
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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016
When the European scholars began studying the world around them, they got interested in exploring more new lands. This marked a new age for them which they referred to as the Renaissance- a French word meaning rebirth. The Renaissance was considered as the beginning of the modern history by majority of European historians. Renaissance was contributed to by scientists, scholars, philosophers, architects, artists, and rulers. The Renaissance in Italy was the most notable in Europe in the 15th century. Machiavelli was one of the leaders of that time. He made one saying that has been influential to the present human age; He said that if you want to make an individual obey a particular aspect in life, you will be forced to supply a particular level of power that will make him prefer the aspect other than any other that is in existence. In this case, safety and security will be maintained in any state.
Machiavelli was a Florentine political theorist and also a statesman. Though considered a controversial figure in political history, he has been identified as exclusive in his influence during the renaissance especially due to his manual in 1532, the prince. His work addressed political and historical topics which faced great criticism from many writers. His work in the prince aimed the Medici who was ruling Italy. In the prince, he gives the ruler, who was a monarch, advice on how to retain his position in power. He argued that political life may at times be excused for performing acts of violence and deception that is not right in private life, because alone moral or religious rules are not adequate to govern. Due to this argument, Machiavelli was to great extent misunderstood by many critic writers for his view on relationship between ethics and politics, and was regarded as an opportunistic politician in manipulating other people. His advice in the prince was said to have minimal practical influence (Ruderman, 46).
However, there are several write that valued his work and claim to be greatly inspired by Machiavelli in their political life. They argue that while Machiavelli’s advice to the leaders contradicts with Christian morals, it was just pragmatic advice to those who want to succeed in politics. These writers find his advice effective in governance and not an alternative value system. Thus they do not find Machiavelli’s idea conflicting with moral values.
Although his work was forbidden from publication and even reading, printings and translations were still found in the following centuries. His enormous influence was evident when many writers responded positively to his work.
It may be that the only way to stop an evil man from killing millions is to kill him. Utilitarian moralities can cope with these problems, but only by avoiding absolute moral proscriptions (Brill Academic, 68).
In his article (newsvine.com, sat.jan6, 2007), Larry Koz states that Machiavelli is considered a highly influential character in European History especially during Renaissance. In the article, the Larry Koz states that Machiavelli work affects him especially in his political beliefs. The he says that Machiavelli influenced him when he ceased to work in the government. This is when Machiavelli started writing about politics where he included his beliefs and doctrines in his work. With this, he published the prince, in 1513. In his work, he talked of authoritative rule as the best form of leadership. This followed with an argument that “ends justifying the means”. Machiavelli’s beliefs as cited in his “the prince” on government though seen unethical by critics of his work, influenced the political beliefs of this writer. Machiavelli wrote; “There are three ways of holding on to them [acquired states]: the first is to destroy them; the second, to go and live there in person; the third, to allow them to live under their own laws, exacting tribute from them and creating a government there within the state composed of a few people who will keep it friendly towards you, though this is seen as morally wrong by critics of his work, this writer finds these steps as important in political life. In addition the writer thinks the steps if followed wound form a successful government (Brill Academic, 68). The writer goes to the extent of recommending Machiavelli’s points to any nation for they could create a possibility for allies among rival nations and strive towards a more peaceful world. The writer confirms that Machiavelli’s work influenced many during renaissance, and that his influence has survived the test of time and he affirms that he is one of those people affected by the work to date. He confesses his beliefs in Machiavelli work about political theories, and political practices. He agrees that Machiavelli’s argument on authoritative rule is an effective way of governance, and on “ends justifying means”. He further advices those against Machiavelli’s works to look at them in order to learn from them. He also approves Machiavelli work by regarding him to as an intelligent and an influential man during renaissance.
In his article, Niccolo states that Machiavelli’s writing has never gone out of fashion, possibly because he faced certain hard truths about modern thought.
Niccolo Machiavelli is one of the political leaders of the early renaissance period. He was born in 1469. He did a number of treaties that made him famous during that time and even today. In many historical books as regards the past time, he is well quoted and treated as one of the pragmatic leaders who have happened to be in this world. He was a politician as well as a philosopher. It is due to this work of philosophy that he was able to write various books and documentations that he used to pass his message to the people he ruled. It was during the period of renaissance that many philosophers were active. Machiavelli left a legacy that made many to wonder whether it could really happen. Machiavelli had a view of the kind of rulers who existed in Italy. He realized that they were egoistic and wicked. He made one decision that had a great effect after he had died. It is due to proper use of power that will enable an individual to manage a given group of people (Ruderman, 46).
Machiavelli had every reason to learn and teach people the rules of political power. The political activity tat exists is specifically due to the kind of power that is being practiced by the leader of that place. People need to be handled by use of power. It is only a good use of power that an individual leader is able to maintain safety and peace of any human setting.
Machiavelli considers the use of force as the only and applicable theory to be able to administer a good leadership system. For a well ordered political system, one has to embrace the use of coercion among the people. Effective laws and arms are crucial in the formation and the maintenance of any political system. It is through a political power that any political activity is defined. Machiavelli has a distinctive difference between law and force. It is only through a perfect arm and excellent law that an individual can manage a given political authority. The arms are for the administration of force while laws are for guidance in this administration. Legality is only obtained from the use of force. This is actually the reason why Machiavelli decided to use coercion in most of the leadership that he had during his time. He said that it is very rare to find good laws without the presence of good and functional arms. He therefore decided to concentrate in establishing strong and effective arms force that will see to it that good laws are made and implemented. It is only through coercion that a human being is made to do a particular activity or obey a given directive. Machiavelli therefore considered the use of force to establish everything that he desired for in his life and governance.
Machiavelli addresses the issue of fear among human beings. He said that it is fear that makes people to behave and act in unusual ways. If you subject an individual to fear and intimidation, he will be made to adhere to the force that results to the stimuli of fear in him. In this case, Machiavelli considers that people can be made to come to terms of certain principles by simply subjecting them to a state of fear.
Within the existing period of time and the political thought, most of the work of Machiavelli could not be grasped by many people. This made many people to hate most of what he did. Moreover, he happened to have used a lot of force that people could not withstand. Within the abrupt time of the collapse of the Italian city states, he came into existence. It was abrupt and forced people to act according to how he wanted. He had a formative movement that no one could withstand at any time. Within a short period of time, he again announced a break in what he had announced to be done (Ruderman, 46).
In his work of discourses of Livy, there are a number of controversies in what Machiavelli wrote. The work itself has some introductions that are in two paragraphs. The first exemplifies the dangers of finding new systems and methodologies, and the intention that an individual declares before. Here he decides to take a path that has never been taken by anybody in the entire state. The second paragraph is basically a dismissal of the antiquarianism that existed during the time of renaissance. The reason for dismissal is faked and not true at all. This activity becomes one of Machiavelli’s undoing in his government. He regards this renaissance period as poor and with the only main purpose of protecting the sovereignty of the country with the prospect of making history. In every piece of writing, it is normally important for the writer to follow particular steps that will guide him in a good production. In the book, there is nevertheless a method that can be used to interrogate these kinds of reasoning in nature. This is to be able to see and note the changes that different areas have.
Most of the works that Machiavelli did are found in other people’s pieces of works. There are several social theories that have been seen to explain the concepts that Machiavelli was trying to apply to life. The book therefore is not a true account and reflection of the political groupings that existed among the people together with the various forms. People could therefore not pay much attention to what was said in it.
It is quite ironical to find an individual like Machiavelli, who is a crucial republican, get to advice an autocrat on how to manage power and security among the people of the land. He was a strong republican but yet wrote a number of books that contained advices of an autocrat on how to get and maintain power. There were foreign threats that Machiavelli was foreseeing. That is why he decided to embrace a shrewd leadership. He saw it as the only way to protect the power and wealth that was in the state to avoid the foreign threats as France and Spain. This was also for the reasons of personal interests. Moreover, there was no positive influence that could make people to come to like the works of Machiavelli, especially the book titled the prince. It was neither interesting nor starling to the eyes of the people. This was mainly because of the fact that during that time, there was a widespread handbook of behavior that met the needs of the monarchical states (Brill Academic, 68).
Many ideas in the prince are of shock to many people. This is because of the sentence he gave as regards to his perspectives of life and leadership. He suggested that a prince should not be failing in virtues. He should be loyal to the state and the people as long as he is following the interests of the state. This is also a perspective that any leader should take any political alliance or power. For instance, he says that a priest should not evade the punishment of murder if he deserves according to the law. He is the first individual to act according to the rules and regulations of the existing laws and norms of the society.
According to Machiavelli, there are two aspects that every leader and leadership strategy has to adhere to. These are the power and the influence of luck. He said that these are the main aspects of life that act to determine the destiny of every individual in the society. Power arises from the force applied upon the lives of the people and the style of cunning that superimposes. According to Machiavelli, there is no role that God plays in each part of politics. This is one of the reasons why there is a failure in the works of Machiavelli which raised controversies after his death.
In the articles, the prince and the discourses, there is no part that recognizes ethics as the major pillars of morality in the society. Moreover, he does not eschew it openly. He speaks of love as an organ that should be exercised for the betterment of the society. This is crucial to the fact that he does not recognize ethics yet they are the major sources and tranquilizers of love. This is a big controversy of Machiavelli. This further shows that there is no room for Christian ethics to take place yet he stresses the need for love among the people. There is also the issue of murder. In this case, he says that murder should be condoned when it is necessary. People could not understand nor act according to this order.
The prince is totally political in nature. The nature in which the book is set is a clear indication of the program of the Italian princes. The classification of the principalities, the methods of winning and their maintenance is a clear indication that it is a program of the Italian princes. He does a number of deeds simply to prove the more-than-ethics scenario in the human conduct.
There are a number of aspects that Machiavelli considers to be the causes of the failures portrayed in the prince. The resultant reactions from the people, and especially the high class made him to consider the book a failure. He expected the book to be praised and highly reputed by the people of the high class. This would result to a huge gain when it came to selling the book. Moreover, it would have made what he said get to the big places and people of the country. However, the people confiscated the book. The people called the Medicis had no important thing in the book. They could not realize what had actually been written in the book. They therefore could not give any credit to Machiavelli. There was no political favor that got to Machiavelli either. He therefore considers this book one of the failures in his intentions of carrying out the message that he had for the people of his nation. Moreover, the book took a lot of time before it was printed. This actually happened when he had died. This however had a lot of impact on the Italian people as they took another long period before they got their independence (Gee, 132)
The book had a number of reactions from other people even those not of Italy. Many people say that many political leaders as president bush used Machiavelli’s ideas in their governance. For instance, during his attack of Iraq. Moreover, many ruthless rulers as Hitler had to use the book to justify many of the misdeeds that they did to the people of their lands. This also made many people and leaders to take advantage of Machiavelli’s thesis. They carried out many unethical deeds in their countries.
Machiavelli’s works has become subjects of concern among many people of many countries in the world. This was actually not the intention of Machiavelli himself. It has actually brought up many and varied ethical questions that were inexistent before his writings. Many political and business ventures are utilizing the ides of the book to carry out their weird intentions in the societies. These people are rationalizing many of the actions that they are doing with the prospect that the end will justify the beginning. This is actually wrong having in mind what actually justifies the beginning.
In conclusion, there are varied reactions that followed Machiavelli’s work during the renaissance period. They ranged from those which sounded positive to those that were actually negative in nature. However, most of the works that Machiavelli did have been of practical use in many governance and leadership skills in the world.
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