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MACHIAVELLIS VIEW OF HUMAN NATURE In The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli presents a view of governing a state that is drastically different from that of humanists of his time Machiavelli believes the ruling Prince should be the sole authority determining every aspect of the state and put in effect a policy which would serve his best interests These interests were gaining maintaining and expanding his political power1 His understanding of human nature was a complete contradiction of what humanists believed and taught Machiavelli strongly promoted a secular society and felt morality was not necessary but in fact stood in the way of an effectively governed principality2 Though in come cases Machiavellis suggestions seem harsh and immoral one must remember that these views were derived out of concern Italys unstable political condition3 Though humanists of Machiavellis time believed that an individual had much to offer to the well being of the state Machiavelli was quick to mock human nature Humanists believed that An individual only grows to maturity- both intellectually and morally- through participation in the life of the state4 Machiavelli generally distrusted citizens stating that in time of adversity when the state is in need of its citizens there are few to be found5 Machiavelli further goes on to question the loyalty of the citizens and advises the Prince that because men a wretched creatures who would not keep their word to you you need keep your word to them6 However Machiavelli did not feel that a Prince should mistreat the citizens This suggestion once again to serve the Princes best interests If a prince can not be both feared and loved Machiavelli suggests it would be better for him to be feared bey the citizens within his own principality He makes the generalization that men are ungrateful fickle liars and deceivers they shun danger and are greedy for profit while you treat them well they are yours7 He characterizes men as being
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