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Thomas Jefferson vs. Niccolo Macheveli Essay Sample

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Thomas Jefferson vs. Niccolo Macheveli Essay Sample

Thomas Jefferson and Niccolo Machiavelli share similar and different thoughts on how a government should run. On how the government should function. From the rule of the government the rule of the people. However Machiavelli’s essay is more cynical, while on the other hand Jefferson is more logical. We might live in a Machiavellian world but it all depends on what people believe in. Personally I believe that Machiavelli’s philosophy is cynical compared to Jefferson, Therefore I believe more in Jefferson’s piece which is far more realistic although Machiavelli still catches realism in the world we live today. “We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all mean are created equal….” One of Thomas Jefferson’s examples of function of government. Jefferson’s meaning would be, men have the right to the preservation of life & liberty , & the spirit of happiness. If you read much more further into his text you could read that these rights are endowed by our creator, our creator being god. Jefferson’s piece being more of a religious philosophy. Jefferson’s text; “..all men are created equal..”. Jefferson wrote this while he owned over 2000 African American slaves.

Going to the event when the slavery issue back then would have resulted in a clash between the Southerners and Northerners that would have sabotaged the attempt to free the colonialists from the British rule. What he was addressing was the concept of nobility, the basis of the feudal society that Britain was living under the time. In other words, it was an attack on the British monarchy, which is why the British reacted so strongly against the colonialists. To suggest otherwise is simply misleading and deceptive. Equality is not some thing that a government can grant or deny a body of citizens, for this tight is unalienable. Meaning that our Deceleration of Independence states that each individual has certain basic rights, on the other hand which neither conferred by not derived from the state. Jefferson himself was a signer of the Deceleration of Independence, he showed himself to be a man torn by moral differences, inherent slavery and by the inconsistence between his values and him being a slave owner. Jefferson preached that “..all men are created equal..”. Although ,now looking at Niccolo Machiavelli’s way of thinking, his view on a function of government, which is way more different than Jefferson’s view. “It is better to be feared than to be loved..”.

In my opinion I believe that Machiavelli is meaning- as we all know, the feeling of “love” can be easily broken should a certain circumstance occur but the fear has the ability to take a hold of us and is very hard to break, in contrast to love. Machiavelli believed that it was much safer to be feared than loved. For example President George W. Bush provides an excellent vehicle for Machiavelli’s question, Is it better to be feared than loved? It was clear the the Bush Administration chose to be feared than to be loved, which is to say it governed using the unilateral model. The Bush Administration followed its own view of how best to proceed regarding detainee treatment .The Administration did not go to Congress to seek legal authorization for its policies and programs. The President followed the unilateral model not simply to establish the kinds of military commissions he wanted , but also to vindicate his broad theory of unilateral presidential power. A modern day example would be with President Barack Obama, 4 years ago everyone loved him, he said that he would change things in the economy, he will make it a better society. Although all that is now changing with the economy is still being down (Machiavelli stated how love can be quickly broken). Machiavelli also presents the idea that the power of a leader depends more on the qualities of the man than on of god.

Thats the matter, loved and feared-qualities need there limits the same way as anything else in a social relation. Machiavelli himself stating that a man who makes himself loved than who makes himself feared; the reason is that love is a link to obligation, which men, because they are rotten, and will break any time soon. Machiavelli complicates the nation of good as purely subordinate power, arguing that the excess of “good” can actually do harm. In this case too much clemency can lead to uprisings and civil war. Cruelty what Machiavelli believes in, states that it can serve the greater good. I personally disagree with Machiavelli’s text, I think love is stronger than fear. A commander loved by his soldiers will defeat a commander feared by his soldiers in almost all battles, but the feared commander is less subject to arbitrary chance. Its not only love that can destroy a man, so can fear. “For its a good general rule about men, that they are ungrateful, fickle liars, and deceivers, fearful of danger, and the greedy for gain” Machiavelli stated.

To me this really caught my attention, because it reminded me of this years presidential election, between Romney and President Barack Obama. How in the debate, a lot of people and including myself over heard lies about both Romney and the President. Romney for example, one of his biggest lies would be that he stated, “We’ve got 23 million people out of work or [who have] stopped looking for work in this country. The nation crisis is joblessness is bad, but not 23 million bad. The official figure is 12.5 million unemployed. A few million American have stopped looking for jobs. How does Romney gin his eye-popping 23 million figure? He counts more than 8 million wage earners who hold part-time jobs as also being “out of work”. Machiavelli basically had little respect for the people, and he feels as though they have not earned much either. He uses this as justification for the use of the fear in order to control people. He also feels that men are “wretched creatures who would not keep their word to you, you need not to keep your word to them”. Overall Machiavelli is very pessimistic about the abilities of the people. He feels that his conclusions are morally true about wretched, lying men. On the other hand, Thomas Jefferson believed the opposite of Machiavelli, Jefferson believed on that everything was good.

Everyone had rights, no matter what, which is stated in the Deceleration of Independence. Jefferson’s view on nature of men was different than Machiavelli’s, Jefferson stated; “Man a rational animal endowed by nature with rights, and with an innate sense of justice; and….” This quote said by Thomas Jefferson is the total opposite of what Machiavelli is stating. Jefferson believes that a man can do his own duties,a man is protected from wrong to right. While Machiavelli is stating that man are liars and deceivers. “Offering there blood, their belongings, their lives, and their children lives…”. Machiavelli overall is sating that men are weak and Jefferson stating the direct opposite. I personally more agree with Jefferson because a man can make his own choices, no else can do that. Every individual has the right to there own choices, it could be bad or good. Jefferson might sound as if everything should be perfect, although its not. In other hand its also not as cynical as Machiavelli says. That is just exaggeration, and exaggeration is never a good thing. “He has waged cruel war against human nature itself , violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating…” Thomas Jefferson stated in his essay. The example of how the king of Great Britain treated his people, how cruel he was towards them. He had a history of repeated injures and usurpations.

Thomas Jefferson indicating that it was wrong what King George III was doing. Sense he had a history of repeated injures, there is no doubt that destruction will rise once again. For example as well as King Louis, back when he ruled, he led his rule to a downfall, the economy was really bad. This people suffered because of him, he-in my opinion was a bad ruler. When I immediately read that part of the text, of King George, I got reminded form King Louis. On the other hand, Machiavelli actually stated in this essay; “A prince shouldn’t be considered cruel but mercifully”. Although Machiavelli didn’t say a prince had to be cruel but mercifully, rather his ideas didn’t sound merciful but cruel, Machiavelli believed that a prince should spend his peoples money, which are the taxes, although It wont affect him at all. That the prince should squeeze as much as money as he can from his people.

Machiavelli also has steps towards how a prince should act or present at the time of trouble, when the prince is in trouble. Machiavelli believes that a prince who cruelly punishes is not cruel if these punishments help to create a stability: a prince who is merciful is not really merciful of he allows disorders and crime to flourish , injuring everyone. To me it was confusing at first, I knew that there was a right answer, but instead I had an opinion, even if Machiavelli states that what a prince should do isn’t cruel I still contradict and believe that is cruel. If you look at it, deeper into the text, I think others will see what I mean. As I stated before that Machiavelli’s read that it is better to be feared that loved. Well how can a prince be feared without being cruel? To me that sounds almost impossible. How can a prince, being feared by his people, not be cruel?

I believe more in Thomas Jefferson’s logical beliefs than Machiavelli’s. Machiavelli beliefs for me are too cynical. Yes, our world today might be Machiavellian but it will always depend on what you believe in, not in what you see. Thomas Jefferson beliefs sound perfect, perfect like in Utopian society. Although you have to face the truth that this world will never be close to perfect, but its close to what we have in our government today, almost to what Jefferson believed in. I am Jeffersonian and I live in a Machiavellian world.

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