Essay On Machiavelli's Recommendation For Republican Government And Hobbes' Objections

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Politics, Machiavelli, Power, People, Democracy, Citizenship, War, Nature

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2020/12/24

Development of philosophical thought is determined by the current historical realities, which represent the basic concepts of political doctrines of individual authors. In this paper, we try to create a single chain of three fundamental concepts of political philosophers Niccolo Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes. By means of recourse to history, we will try to show what events in the political life of Italy and England was the basis for the individual items of the above philosophies thinkers. An analysis of what the early ideas about the concept of the state, about its structure, the rights of citizens and the role of the sovereign (Prince, ruler) influenced later writers (of course, the author is taken earlier Machiavelli) (Wootton 57-198). Machiavelli, Hobbes made ​​a significant contribution to the development of political philosophy. At the same time, if the state does not Machiavelli estimates in terms of institutor, but rather in terms of a charismatic leader, standing at the head of education, Hobbes prevails in the centralized absolutist states that are based on the mechanism of state coercion and the absolute power of the executive body. It is therefore interesting to consider the idea of the authors who first laid the groundwork for further reflection of an ideal and the government, and secondly, have diametrically opposed views on the role of the state machine in society (Wootton 57-198).
Let us move on to the analysis of the state system by Machiavelli based on his work "The Prince." First, you should describe the historical context, which undoubtedly influenced the final version of the politico-philosophical model, which is to the "Prince" (Wootton 57-198). Italy since Machiavelli is divided into a plurality of feudal principalities, kingdoms and regions of the country that is subject to a permanent influence and military pressure from the more powerful neighbors France, Spain, the Ottoman Empire and, later, Austria. The situation is the constant threat of military intervention by powerful European players is complicated by the fact that between themselves feudal parts go constant civil war, the purpose of which is the possession of the largest territory, the government, and the trade advantage. At the same time, the military forces in the face of France, Spain, the Ottoman Empire and the Austrian Empire were also fighting for the expansion of their sphere of influence in the region. Italy "autumn" of the Middle Ages was the cultural center of Europe, the Western European Christian Center (located in Rome), and, more importantly, one of the most important centers of trade. Each of the Powers tries to achieve the maximum benefit from the provisions of the fragmentation of the Italian provinces; this explains the large number of Italian wars, some of which was carried out with an open intervention by stronger powers - France, Spain, and England, while the rest were between individual Italian principalities (Wootton 57-198).
It is not surprising that, in the political chaos and fragmentation of the political field, the actual loss by Italy of its political, economic and even cultural unity, the central figure of Machiavelli's philosophy becomes a "Prince". Who is a leader who can unite under his leadership the existing autonomous region, to drive out the enemy from the territory of the country and restore the former glory of Rome? In this case, to justify their power, the sovereign must have truly extraordinary abilities to manage the complex structure of the state. It should be a great military leader, a skillful diplomat and a wise head of state able to apply different mechanisms of action on the broad social masses ranging from harsh methods to suppress the uprising soft techniques of social policy. Consider the basic concepts of Machiavelli. In our view, the fundamental principle is three:

The first constitutions

Ruler who wants to keep their power, avoiding internal strife and external threats should be like two animals: the fox and the lion. Such as, we can call fortunate any republic in which there appears a leader so prudent he is able to give them a code of law they have no need to revise, but under which they can live securely (57)
The basic idea of this concept is that the sovereign in certain circumstances, the power to act and fulfill the contract signed with an ally, if this does not turn into a state of damage. If the enemy is too strong, or if the contract conclusion disadvantageous needs to act cunning, that is to become a fox. Only to find a balance between these two behaviors allow the governor to conduct effective foreign and domestic policy, as a lion afraid of traps, and the fox - wolves, therefore, need to be like the fox to be able to get around the traps, and a lion to frighten wolves (Wootton 57-198).

The second constitutions

Let us turn to military affairs. According to Machiavelli, the Emperor must not have any other thoughts, and other worries, no other business than war, military institutions and military science, because the war is the sole responsibility that the governor cannot impose on the other. Constant reflection on the war, defense, and attack, as well as military exercises should be engaged in the real ruler who cares about the welfare of the state and nation. These rules should lead to the fact those in difficult times if fate wants to crush the sovereign, he can stand on his head (Wootton 57-198).

The third constitutions

Striking a balance between excessive brutality and excessive mercy; as Machiavelli wrote: The new emperor should not be gullible, suspicious and quick to violence, in all its actions it must be restrained, cautious and merciful, so that excessive credulity is not turned negligence and excessive distrust not embittered subjects. In other words, too cruel policy toward the conquered population (or its own citizens) can lead to riots and manifestations of hatred. This policy creates a real threat to the sovereign power, while the excessive mercy will leadcontempt the people and his effeminacy because people are evil by nature and do not appreciate the efforts and the grace of the sovereign. And yet, it is better to power rested on fear than love, because fear is controlled by the monarch and is formed at its discretion, at the time, as the people form love, that is, a sense of control, and therefore unreliable (Wootton 57-198).
As we can see, Prince is dedicated to the disclosure of the ideal model of political behavior of the state in relation to his subjects and his political opponents, that is, in fact, this work may be considered by us like a recipe retention and gain power. Undoubtedly, one might ask: What is the role of the subjects (or citizens) in the structure of the state, whether they are full-fledged actors in the political arena? This is hardly Machiavelli writes, because concentrates on the methods available to hold sovereign power, which is understandable - in a divided and destroyed by successive wars of the country most obvious value becomes stable and strong hand of the prince.
 One hundred years later the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, a materialist in the Leviathan puts forward a new theory of the origin and functioning of the state, which, however, has direct intersection with the theory of Machiavelli. However, before we turn to the historical realities of England since Hobbes. It was during this period is the development of the natural sciences: mechanics, geometry, and the natural sciences, which form a world of Hobbes. In 1640 in England begins the bourgeois revolution, an era of British colonialism and spread its influence in North America and India. Because of the bourgeois revolution, dramatic changes occur in itself and the structure of society: dying medieval three-part model of praying, fighting, working comes into play a new class - the bourgeoisie. However, this period is characterized not by rapid technological and economic development; it is also a political crisis in England (Wootton 57-198). Disagreements between King Charles I and Parliament over the powers available to the king resulted in a civil war, as a result in 1649. Charles wasexecuted and was proclaimed an independent Commonwealth of England, headed by de jure standing Parliament, but de facto Oliver Cromwell.
Events in the political life of the country had a strong influence on the views of Hobbes on the structure of the state and, in principle, to his beliefs about the causes of this formation. Of course, a security refers to the protection from foreign invasion, as well as the injustice that people can do to each other. Total Hobbes, there are three fundamental principles:

The first constitutions

If you want to take power in a republic and change its constitution for the worse, you will only succeed if the citizens have long been corrupt, if little by little, for generation after generation decay has set in (87). The state is the result of a contract between people, and the sovereign himself, who later gets the whole of society in this contract, does not participate he simply transferred part of the rights of all people based on the conclusion of this agreement. It can be that the state is set when a lot of people to negotiate and enter into an agreement with each one that the purpose of the establishment of peace among them and protect each other. It will recognizes as its own all the actions and judgments of that man, or assembly of people, which gives the majority the right to represent the face of all (t. e. to be their representative), regardless of whether he had voted for or against them. It is important that the need for this contract does not arise spontaneously: the reason is that before the contract people live in the "natural state" (another option is a "war of all against all"). In fact, this condition means chaos: due to the natural equality of man by birth, as well as the presence of a common goal, people are beginning to compete with each other (due to natural egoism) and destroy each other. The unifying factor in this case may only state in the person of the sovereign, who will act as the indisputable judge who not only resolves disputes between individuals, but also determines the unit of the completely social mechanism for achieving a common goal survival.

The second constitutions

One can see a republic should survive longer and should more frequently have fortune on its side, than a monarchy, for a republic can adapt itself more easily to changing circumstances because it can call on citizens of differing characters (87). Hobbesian state of various forms may be only three: the monarchy (as when the sovereign represents the state, serves one person), aristocracy (the state is meeting or a limited number of people), and democracy (a collection of anyone who wants to participate). Interestingly, the best form of state from a mechanical point of view appears monarchy. It is easy to explain: in any case, the sovereign, in power, is the carrier not only public, but also his or her own interests. From this perspective, the monarch inclined to seek the welfare of the people, for wealth, power, and glory monarchs due to a wealth, power, and reputation of his subjects. Sovereign is represented by meeting or democracy is more susceptible to the satisfaction of his or her own interests, which then flows into a civil war and civil strife. Important moment and political decision-making: how Hobbes writes, the decisions taken by the monarch, are subject to volatility only to the extent that it is inherent in human nature, the same assembly solutions can also be changed due to the large number of assembly (Wootton 57-198). This in turn can lead to disagreements among members of the congregation, and instead there is a split decision and, again, there is a threat not only split on the board, but in the whole society, which returns it to the "natural state."

The third constitutions

This principle concerns the relationship between the sovereign and the citizens and was chosen by us is no accident. First, it addresses a topic that walked in his work Machiavelli, and secondly, is quite ambiguous. On the one hand, citizens cannot overthrow his sovereign, as it a) is illogical, because they gave him the right to make the contract, in which he was involved, and b) an attempt to overthrow the sovereign is a violation of the rights of the majority, which was an agreement. That is, and citizens have no right without the consent of the sovereign to overthrow the existing order and go into a state of chaos (Wootton 57-198). On the other hand, it is veryimportant to note the understanding of Hobbes freedom subjects. The subjects are free to do what is not in the contract with the government, that is, that the sovereign bypasses their attention, in all sorts of activities for which the rules are silent, people have the freedom to do what their own intelligence suggests the most advantageous for them. It is important that citizens are free to defend his life, even in cases when it infringes on the legal basis, and that they do not have to kill yourself or your family or friends on the orders of the sovereign. From this, it follows that there is a formal citizen's personal freedom to speak out against the regime, but legally this subject will be punished by the sovereign. The most important is the fact that as long as the sovereign able to perform its main function, namely, to maintain the security of the whole society and each individual citizen in particular, it can punish the inhabitants of his state at will, otherwise, people return again in a state of "war of all against all" such as author has mentioned into the following quotation:
“those republics that have preserved popular sovereignty and resisted corruption do not tolerate any of their citizens to style himself a gentlemen, or live like one
they maintain among themselves a genuine equality and they are bitterly hostile to those lords and gentlemen who do exist in their region
anyone who wants to set up a republic in a place where there is a fair number of gentlemen can only do it if he begins by killing them all. On the other hand, anyone who wants to set up a monarchy or a system of one man rule in a place where there is a fair amount of social equality will never manage to do it unless he lifts out of that equality many individuals who are ambitious and restless, and makes them into gentlemen in fact if not in name, giving them castles and estate, and giving them control of men and property. Then he will be surrounded by an elite whom he can rely on to uphold his power.” (73)
As we can see, the basis of state-of Leviathan is an absolute sovereign power over his subjects, the ability to concentrate in their hands the executive, legislative and judicial power, and control all aspects of society on the legal basis of the agreement concluded between all members of society as stated in the following quotation:
”agreement among men is by covenant only which is artificial: and therefore it is no wonder if there be somewhat else required (besides covenant) to make their agreement constant and lasting; which is a common power, to keep them in awe, and to direct their actions to the common benefit” (175)
Despite the conceptual difference between the by Machiavelli, we, nevertheless, can spend some parallels. Firstly, as the Prince of Machiavelli, Hobbes's sovereign are a person (or group of people), that have unrivaled authority because of its ability to manage the whole society through a variety of tools and most importantly - to ensure his safety. According to Machiavelli Prince becomes the head of state because of their personal leadership qualities of a warrior and diplomat, the sovereign of Hobbes as chosen by the public as the personification of the state, which can also be interpreted as recognition of the people of his organizational qualities. Secondly, Prince Machiavelli using models of a lion and the fox strengthens their power by destroying one, deceiving others and encouraging (Wootton 57-198). Third is similar to the sovereign and Hobbes on the one hand encourages using rewards those who served the state well and teaches subjects respect to the existing form of government with the help of universities, on mercilessly fights with those who oppose it, and judges them based on their own law.
Undoubtedly, each of the authors has formed its separate political understanding, each of them saw the device state machine in different ways: from a purely centralized and selectively repressed state to legal and open to influence by the citizens in a democratic mechanism. Nevertheless, it is impossible to conclude that the later Hobbes has formed his ideas in isolation from the earlier political principles: rethinking and refutation of the classical principles of Machiavellianism, and then the ideas of Hobbes says that the development of political science was inextricably linked to the historical context, with what happened in Europe during the 15-17 centuries. New theories replaced old is because the classical idea of showing their true destructive nature (and sometimes archaic) in a changing political situation, and sometimes led to bloody wars and revolutions.

Works Cited

Wootton, David. Modern Political Thought: Readings from Machiavelli to Nietzsche. Hackett Publishing company, Inc., 1996. Web. 10 Mar. 2015. P. 57-198

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