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MACHIAVELLIS VIEW OF HUMAN NATURE In The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli presents a view of governing astate that is drastically different from that of humanists of his timeMachiavelli believes the ruling Prince should be the sole authoritydetermining every aspect of the state and put in effect a policy whichwould serve his best interests These interests were gainingmaintaining and expanding his political power1 His understanding ofhuman nature was a complete contradiction of what humanists believed andtaught Machiavelli strongly promoted a secular society and feltmorality was not necessary but in fact stood in the way of aneffectively governed principality2 Though in come cases Machiavellissuggestions seem harsh and immoral one must remember that these viewswere derived out of concern Italys unstable political condition3 Though humanists of Machiavellis time believed that an individualhad much to offer to the well being of the state Machiavelli was quickto mock human nature Humanists believed that An individual onlygrows to maturity- both intellectually and morally- throughparticipation in the life of the state4 Machiavelli generallydistrusted citizens stating that in time of adversity when thestate is in need of its citizens there are few to be found5Machiavelli further goes on to question the loyalty of the citizens andadvises the Prince that because men a wretched creatures who wouldnot keep their word to you you need keep your word to them6 HoweverMachiavelli did not feel that a Prince should mistreat the citizensThis suggestion once again to serve the Princes best interests If a prince can not be both feared and loved Machiavelli suggestsit would be better for him to be feared bey the citizens within his ownprincipality He makes the generalization that men are ungratefulfickle liars and deceivers they shun danger and are greedy forprofit while you treat them well they are yours7 He characterizesmen as being self centered and not willing to act in the best interestof the stateand when the prince is in danger they turn againsthim8 Machiavelli reinforces the
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