Born in Florence , he produced his masterpiece PRINCE IN 151and DISCOURSES in1521.
Influences – Conditions in Italy ,The peninsula was divided into independent small states which were constantly at War .Some were republics others were ruled by despotic rulers . Five Groups –Kingdom of Naples ,Territory of Roman Catholic Church, Dutchy of Milan ,Republic of Venice and Republic of Florence .There was always a serious threat from France and Spain .Machiavelli wanted to unite these principalities ,pleaded for a strong ruler ,unite the country and defeat strong invaders .The Pope was an obstacle to secular integration ,and wanted transfer of power to the Monarchy
B – Impact of the Republic –The Renaissance Movement stood for revival of ancient values and culture ,this movement was strong in Italy .It created a consciousness of Life , a new sense of liberty ,and new values of life .Man became the centre of all study and God relegated to the background .There was a revolt against authority of the church.
Emergence of Strong Monarchies – The medieval representative institutions like feudatories and corporations died ,there was concentration of powers in monarchs .Aristotle ,Marsiglio also had an impact on him .
Method --- Influenced by Aristotle but his method was inductive than deductive ,also borrowed from the historical method of Aristotle .He did not appeal to god but to Reason and History .He preferred inductive method because he says Wise men speak not randomly but with foundation they predict the future ,should base predictions on history, we can learn from study of past actions and apply it to similar conditions in our own times .
Machiavelli followed the Historical Method but his writings were based on the happenings in his own time than History .
Modern Thinker – New ideas symbolic of Modern Age .
1—Discarded natural law , man’s bad nature compelled him to live in a state which curbs his anti -social tendencies .
2—His state was based on Human habit and fear. State was necessary to provide security and peace to the people .3-- State -secular ,ignored the principle of Divine Law . Separated the spiritual from Temporal ,spiritual subordinate to temporal .
4—Advocated national , territorial state ,independent of the pope .
5—he made use of inductive method ,along with historical to study the state .
6—he ignored the ethical factors and emphasised the importance of Material Motives .
7—He separated ethics from politics -two different codes of conduct one for the state the other for the individual .The ruler could use unfair means to achieve his ends ,for the safety of the state .
8—utilitarian attitude towards politics and morality. He said the main force behind government was utility. This utility is limited to protection of life and property and ignores freedom ,equality etc .
9—he studied State as a secular institution ,the church was subordinate .The state is a power system ,it should try and dominate abroad ,a strong state , should have a homogenous population and public spirit .
10 – Machiavelli theory speaks of the beginning of Modern nation State –a—an element of national unity and national Homogenity . b—Concentration of powers in the centre – absolutism .
Machiavelli on Human Nature ---- uncomplimentary, no less than animals .2-ungrateful ,fickle ,deceitful ,cowardly ,greedy ,like an animal driven by motives of power ,fear ,lust ,pride and scheming self interest . 3—His observations are from observance of human nature during his times .3—it is wrong .Not all humans are bad .4—not completely wicked but a combination of good and bad .5—They are not completely good nor bad ..6—this Machiavelli agrees to in Discourses .7—according to Machiavelli Fear is the Basis of State but actually State is based on the Will of people not fear .9 – He is also not right when he says there can be no improvement in human nature, the anti- social nature can be changed through education and improvement in Socio -economic environment .
Views on Morality and Religion ---1—separated Politics frm Morality .2—he rejected the cultivation of like humility ,lowliness and contempt for for worldy things and considered pursuit of weel being in this life as the sole objective .3—To reach these objectives he permitted the use of fraud , forgey ,trickery ,breach of faith ,violence by the prince . 4—he attaches more importance to the reason of state than principle of morality-the Reason of State justifies everydegree of treachery and brutality.
5 – Machiavelli did not permit an individual to practise these in his private life because it interferes with the life and security of other members of society 6—Private individuals had had to maintain faith and act in an upright manner .7—The prince could violate these principles in the interest of the state .8—A prince who can play the fox has had the best success according to Machiavelli ..9—Although the prince could act unscrupulously to the people he should appear as the embodiment of qualities that are held in esteem . mercy , good faith , integrity ,kindliness ,and religion .10 – Force is the Prime factor for regulation of affairs of the State , he emphasises the importance of religion ,the church could be used as an instrument for treating National Customs and habits which would preserve peace and good habits in the society.11 – Religion could be used as an instrument for achieving political objectives .
Machiavelli has two different standards ,one for the ruler ,another for the common man . He has been condemned for open advocacy of immorality in public life .1—permits politician to cpmmot all kind of crimes for protecting the integrity of the state .2—but the interests of the people and the ruler may not be the same . The ruler may misuse his privileges in the name of State Interest .
3—his understanding of human nature is faulty.
Views on state and its preservation ---1—State is the highest association,subjects have to completely surrender ,2—it existed to check the selfish interests of human beings and was an artificial creation .3—it had to promote the material prosperity of the people .4—The success of a state can be judged by its peoples prosperity .5—a successful state was one founded by a single man and laws which he created reflected the national character of the state .6 – he prefeered Monarchy and disliked aristocracy .7—Classification of States a—Perverted and Normal .b- In normal citizens were faithful and Law abiding c—They were patriotic and would defend their motherland .d—was a self sufficient state . e—A normal state had a tendency to expand and grow . f- Expansion was a symbol of health of a normal state . h- not expanding the state was due to ill health of a state . I—A perverted State these qualities would be lacking .
8—Machiavelli laid down detailed rules for strengthening and preserving states a—there should be a reliable army composed of native troops not foreign soldiers .
b—Although he preferred Monarchy ,he says a Republican State is the best . The only way to establish some order for corrupt people ,where laws cannot control them ,a superior power is necessarywith full absolute power ,who would control the powerful .This despotic government is not permanent ,only a republican government where people can have a share of ruling and law making can be permanent .
c---Machiavellis state is completely secular,gave great importance to materialistic interests and made the church subservient to the state . but since the church was a powerful organisationhe asks the prince to respect the religion and use it tocontrol his subjects .Religion cultivates humility,submissiveness ,obedience to Law ,so can be used to curb anti-social acticities .Religion necessary for health and prosperity of the state .
d—The state has a tendency to exoand or grow in power .Monarchies ---prince follows policy of expansion due to his craving for power.
Republic follows expansion principle to exist in this competitive world. Ancient Rome a very healthy State ,expansion of a state is like growth in a Humanbody .He says all free governments have two ends one is expansion ,the other to preserve their liberties .
E—Law ocuupies an important position,along with force and fear.Good Laws are the foundation stone of the state .Law helps in growth of civil and moral virtues among citizens and development of nationalcharacter .
Suggestions to the Prince to retain power ---1—Should crush all opposition ,use force ,enforce his will with bothering about the will of his subjects .
Force is expensive and inefficient method ,the ruler should use propaganda and religion to make people submit.The ruler should be both a Lion and fox .
3—Should take quick and firm decisions, while acting quickly can make mistakes but not loose initiative over delay .
4—maintain peace and plenty ,enable people to lead a happy life .
5—maintain a national army.because a permanent army will protect .
6—Should have good soldiers will defend the country.
7 Should maintain popularity ,earn their love and affection , then he can handle hostile nobles and rich men in the state .
8—should cultivate patriotism and public spirit among people through religion and propaganda .
9—the prince should be more feared than loved .people love only when there receive or expect benefits from a ruler .With fear he ensures obedience for longer duration.but price should not be hated ,that will ruin him .
10—Should maintain secrecy,if secrets become public knowledge then plans become ineffective .
11 Honesty is not essential .If interests of the State demand prince can commit fraud and be dishonest.
12 – But he should not touch the property and women of his subjects ,it will affect the people the most .
13 should pretend tobe kind ,generous merciful ,sincere ,humble , brave and religious .Should have the reputation of a good man .
14 should believe flattery ,announce that he prefers to know the truth even if it is bitter.
15 There are no permanent friends or enemies,can give up his friends if the State demands it .
16 He should seek the counsel of few wise men .
17 Should never underestimate his enemies ,through intelligence collect their weaknesses and crush them .
18 while conquering new lands , liberty of the conquered nation has to be crushed .
19 should neither be lavish or miserly .
Criticism ---1 Nature of man