Political Ideas Of Machiavelli, Guicciardini And Hobbes Essay, Research Paper
The sections that I will be presenting are 73, 74, and 75. I will discuss the political ideas of Niccolo Machiavelli, Francesco Guicciardini, and Thomas Hobbes during the time of Florence Republic. First, Niccolo Machiavelli was born in Florence, Italy in 1469 at a time when the country was in political upheaval. Italy was divided between four dominant city-states, by which each of them was always at the mercy of the continual changing of princes and governments.
In Donald Kelley’s Version of History, the Medici family had brought a form of stability to Florence, but the golden age of Florentine republic soon declined after the death of Lorenzo Medici. Throughout his life Machiavelli had come to develop a strong love for Florence, and an absolute honorable sense of service to those ruling it. He hoped to make it great, powerful, and lasting like that of the Roman Empire.
In Kelley, Machiavelli briefly mentions the books of Titus Livius, which gives him the opportunity to express his own views on the government of the state. Machiavelli’s model republic was that of the Roman commonwealth, the most successful and enduring example of popular government. He acknowledges three kinds of government, the monarchial, the aristocratic, and the democratic. He then goes on to mention that there are six kinds of government, three of which are bad, and three good in themselves. However, he believes the three bad government will result in the fall of the good. Machiavelli constantly reminds us of his preference towards a republican form of government and his admiration for the Roman Empire. He insists on establishing a government with the political will to do what is right for the people and country while maintaining peace and stability. He believes that power should be divided among the people, prince, and nobility so that one person alone will have complete authority. Machiavelli recognizes Lycurgus of deserving the highest praise for the governing of Sparta in distributing power to the king, the nobles, and the people. He established a government, which lasted for over eight hundred years.
Machiavelli uses the Roman Empire as an example because they conquered the world and held their power for over a thousand years. They accomplished this from having strength and stability. Florence needs to replicate the ideologies of Rome in order to become as powerful and great. Machiavelli wants Florence to adopt these patterns so that ultimately Florence will have the same success as Rome. In short, I think Machiavelli is emphasizing the importance of decisive action and courage. He uses bold writings to encourage men, so that they will build a safe and stable world for people.
Francesco Guicciardini: Section 74
Francesco Guicciardini was born in 1483 and died in 1540, like Machiavelli he worked for government of Florence and wrote about the history of his city and country as well as about the politics of his time. His philosophies toward politics were formed after the invasion of the French invasions of 1494. Francesco and Machiavelli had one thing in common their love for the city of Florence. However, unlike Machiavelli who chooses to use examples of past empires to talk about history. Guicciardini finds that to judge by examples are misleading. He believes that past events will be able to foretell the future and examples are useless. In Kelley, Guicciardini began by discussing the beauty, prosperity, and stability of Florence, which was disrupted by the French Invasion in 1494. Guicciardini witnessed the “calamity” of the French invasion that destabilized all of Italy and the collapse of the Florentine republic.
The death of Lorenzo was to be followed by that of the Pope. The impending destruction of Florence was drawing closer and strange revelations began to happen throughout Italy. It was said that enormous horses were seen and noises of Drums and trumpets echoed day after day. These revelations filled the people of Italy with fear along with the fear of the French invasion. Guicciardini first Discourse talks about cities being built either by foreigners or by the natives of the place. He accounts for those built by foreigners to have had desires of self-governing and to be independent of their origins.
Guicciardini states that Florence was once of this nature and that cities had risen to notable status according to their location, constitution, or the wealth they may have encountered.
Thomas Hobbes: section 75
My final discussion is about Thomas Hobbes born in 1588 and died in 1679. He proposes to show the value of history and a means of understanding the causes of political decline and in particular the dangers of democracy. In Donald Kelley, Hobbes discusses the kinds of government that can be instituted. The two main forms are monarchy, and democracy. I believe Hobbes thinks that a monarchy is best for several reasons. Monarch’s interests are the same as the people, and in addition, there would be less chance of a war. Of the two kinds of Government mentioned above Hobbes dislikes the democratic form of government. Hobbes believes that if people are fearful they must submit to the absolute supremacy of the state. Hobbes praises the government of Athens, which was under the rule of Pericles and for establishing a monarchy system.