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What Does Humanism And Renaissance Have in Common?

Machiavelli found them subject to the same pressures and the same errors:

I say, then, that individual men, and especially princes, may be charged with the same defects of which writers accuse the people; for whoever is not controlled by laws will commit the same errors as an unbridled multitude (Ball and Dagger 29).

Yet Machiavelli placed his emphasis on the strong king, or prince, as the individual charged with control of government and almost required to take whatever means he deemed necessary to accomplish his goals. As a humanist educator, Machiavelli was indeed accused of being a teacher of evil. Machiavelli details the nature, goals, and responsibilities of the Prince, the sovereign whose leadership determines the success or failure of the body politic and of the state over which he rules. In examining this issue, Machiavelli swept away much of the moralistic and theological baggage that had been attached to the issue in earlier periods and by earlier theorists, and he took a basically amoral approach to the issue and examined what the record showed regarding the activities of the sovereign and used this as a basis for determining how the Prince would be most successful. Machiavelli wanted to provide the basis for the foundation of a new science of statesmanship. He looked to history in terms of the facts rather than theological or moral interpretations or implications. He has been accused of teaching evil precisely because he examines the world of man apart from the world of God, and also because he accepts immoral behavior from the Prince if that behavior promotes the interests of the state, while he rejects moral behavior on the part of the Prince if that behavior does not further the interests of the state.

In fact, Machiavelli is above all a pragmatist in his approach to statecraft. The essence of Machiavelli's argument rests on the way people are viewed by others in terms of their actions and the consequ...

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What Does Humanism And Renaissance Have in Common?. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:56, August 24, 2017, from
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