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Both Niccolo Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes were philosophers who produced influential works on politics and human nature Hobbes was best known for his publications on individual security and the social contract while Machiavelli was a writer statesmanThe first great political philosopher of the Renaissance was Nicolo Machiavelli 1469-1527 His famous treatise The Prince stands apart from all other political writings of the period insofar as it focus on the practical problems a monarch faces in staying in power rather than more speculative issues explaining the foundation of political authority As such it is an expression of realpolitik that is governmental policy based on retaining power rather than pursuing idealsMachiavelli opens The Prince describing the two principal types of governments monarchies and republics His focus in The Prince is on monarchies The most controversial aspects of Machiavellis analysis emerge in the middle chapters of his work In Chapter 15 he proposes to describe the truth about surviving as a monarch rather than recommending lofty moral ideals He describes those virtues which on face value we think a prince should possess He concludes that some virtues will lead to a princes destruction whereas some vices allow him to survive Indeed the virtues which we commonly praise in people might lead to his downfall In chapter 16 he notes that we commonly think that it is best for a prince to have a reputation of being generous However if his generosity is done in secret no one will know about it and he will be thought to be greedy If it is done openly then he risks going broke to maintain his reputation He will then extort more money from his subjects and thus be hated For Machiavelli it is best for a prince to have a reputation for being stingy Machiavelli anticipates examples one might give of generous monarchs who have been successful He concludes that generosity should only be shown to soldiers with goods taken from
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