Machiavelli

Intro

• Core of the Renaissance - new man, with prime concern of glory and fame, replacing religious faith and asceticism with self-realization and the joy of living.
• Machiavelli - father of political realism; Laski – “…the entire Renaissance was in the writings of Machiavelli who portrayed the new character of the state by comprehending the intricacies of statecraft in which decisions reflected the political compulsion rather than religious- precepts and what ought to be.
Machiavelli: A child of His time

• held diplomatic offices; political upheaval in Florentine Republic caused the fall in his career  arrested and later released on term to retire from politics
• after forced retirement he wrote his works – “Prince” and the “Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livy” are most important  their content spelt out his thought and earned him the notoriety such as indifference to the use of immoral means to achieve political purpose and the belief that government largely depended on force and craft
• influenced by the prevailing situation which half of the time was the battleground of conspirators and ambitious politician; Machiavelli as a patriotic Italian was overwhelmingly moved by the prevailing conditions an securing Italy’s independence and restoring prosperity became a master passion for him; unification of Italy under one national monarch on the model of France and Spain was the ideal which inspired him
• besides rotten politics of his time he was inspired by the growing spirit of Renaissance which impelled men to re-examine things from other than the clerical point of view; a/c Dunning, "he stood on the borderline between the Middle Ages and the Modern Ages. He ushered in the Modern Age by ridding politics of the vassalage of religion."

Methods of Machiavelli Study

• quietly put aside the teaching of Church, church fathers and the conflict between the supremacy between state and church
• influenced by Aristotle – used historical methods- a/c to him human nature/problems are almost the same at all times and present can be enlightened by study of past
• a realist; more concerned with the actual working of government machinery than abstract principles of reality – interested in art of government rather than theory of state;
• actual source of his speculation was the interest he felt in the men and conditions of his own time- was an accurate observer and acute analyst of the prevailing circumstances.
• His conclusions were reached empirically based on common sense and shrewd political foresight. According to Sabine: "[Hle used history exactly as he used his own observation to illustrate or support a conclusion that he had reached without reference to history."
• His writing belong to diplomatic literature than political theory; Dunning – his study is the study of art of government rather than a theory of the state.
• The substance of the thought he covers is narrow than Aristotle but in this narrow field his treatment of the problem exhibit, in the words of Sabine – “the shrewdest insight into points of weakness and strength in a political situation, the clearest and coolest judgement of the resources and temperament of an opponent, the most objective estimate of the limitations of a policy, the soundest common sense in forecasting the logic of events, and the outcome of a course of action"
• These qualities have made him favorite with diplomats; but these qualities are also associated with the conceptions like – end override the means; might is right, end justifies the means, necessity knows no laws, etc – but his thoughts carry more import than what is understood by these terms

MACHIAVELLI\'S POLITICAL THOUGHT
• 2 important works; Prince - analysis of political system of stron monarchy; Discourses on Livy – talks of strong republic, creation of an empire of free citizens
• IN BOTH - center of his thought is the method of those who wield the power of the state rather than the fundamental relationship in which the essence of the state exists. He viewed things from the standpoint of the ruler and not the ruled, Preservation of the state rather than the excellence of its constitution were his main consideration. He mentions the mechanism by which state can be made strong and powerful and points the errors that brings downfall of state
• Sabine –“ the purpose of his politics is to preserve and increase political power itself, and the standard