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Compare and Contrast Machiavelli's Definition of a Good Ruler and More's Definition of a Good Citizen. What Do Their Respective Approaches Imply About the Nature of Government?

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How humanity should be run has always been an age old question, which is still being argued today. In this essay I will discuss two very different views by two great philosophers on how society should be governed and how citizens within society would react to this type of state. The first of which being Nicolo Machiavelli (Machiavelli) who viewed all humans to be innately selfish and power hungry individuals and based his theory on how a society should be run on this and Sir Thomas More (More) who believes that human nature is malleable and easily adapts to how people are treated and the surroundings they are raised in who developed a idea of an ideal society based on this belief.

In the work of Machiavelli we see that he believes strongly in a Republic society and opposes a monarchy as he believes in a republic all men are free yet in a monarchy only one man is free. He however also alleged that a good ruler could not be virtues at all times but rather should be adaptable and have the power to be both good or bad depending on what the situation at hand called for, he thought that Christian beliefs had no place in politics as politics can call for raw and brutal behaviour which is not suited to the Christian ways of life. He said that human beings would only follow their leader when it was suited to them but would betray him as soon as they reaped better benefits in not following the said leader this can perhaps be compared to Judas in the bible that betrayed Jesus when offered wealth to do so. He assumed that half the world strived to attain power while the other half strived to resist the power of others thus creating disharmony. Basically Machiavelli accredited a good ruler to one whom did not do what is morally right but rather what is more beneficial to his nation as doing what is immoral may result in flourish of society and what is moral may result in ruin. A good ruler should not be concerned with reputation but rather how to keep his subjects devoted and unified. He should try his best to be seen in the best light by his citizens through manipulative tactics but in reality should not go out of his way to stand by his word or please the public as they will not do the same. If we take the concept of using any means to stay into power and relate it to civilisation today then leaders such as Mohamed Gaddafi (Libya), Laurent Gbagbo (Ivory Coast) and Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe) come to mind which all are currently clinging to power but if we analyse the societies in which they govern in terms of prosperity in both development of the society on the whole as well as their economy it is easy to see that while Machiavelli had a more realistic perception of society then More his analysis of a good ruler may be drastically flawed when put to test in the twenty first century.

In the work of Thomas More we see an entirely different view in the way in which a society should work, he expresses his view through a depiction of the perfect state known as Utopia, in utopia unlike the views of Machiavelli, people are not seen as power hungry therefore the ruler cares more for the wealth of his nation rather than that of his own. Utopia has a big emphasis on common wealth

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