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Political theory

Aristotle said there was a truth in each that had to be reconciled and it is. The 16th and 17th centuries saw the emergence of two political thoughts that proposed singular views on government and the structure of society. Niccolo Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes put forward their views and solutions on each and each directly influenced political ideology immensely. Each of them lived in a time and place of political turmoil, Machiavelli lived in Florence at a time of continuous political turmoil and Hobbes lived in England during its civil war. Aristotle, Hobbes and Machiavelli each designated in their works the best "practical" kind of government. For Aristotle, it was the aforementioned polity, while for Hobbes and Machiavelli; it was some sort of monarchy where there would be one sovereign or prince that would command all or a community that pledged it's obedience to a authority that promised protection.
Aristotle had a profound influence on political philosophy because he invoked challenging discussions of persistent concerns of political philosophy: the role of human nature in politics, the relation of the individual to the state, the place of morality in politics, the theory of political justice, the rule of law, the analysis and evaluation of constitutions, the relevance of ideals to practical politics, the causes and cures of political change and revolution, and the importance of a morally educated citizenry. It has been a common view among political philosophers, especially Aristotle, that there exists a special relationship between moral goodness and legitimate authority. He believed that the use of political power was only rightful if a ruler whose personal ethical makeup was strictly virtuous. Thus rulers were counseled that they must be sure to behave in accordance with conventional standards of moral righteousness. The rulers did well because earned the right to be obeyed and respected because they showed themselves to be virtuous and morally upright.
Niccolo Machiavelli criticizes at length the moral idealistic theory on politics in his best-known treatise, The Prince. For Machiavelli, there is no moral basis on which to judge the difference between legitimate and illegitimate uses of power. Authority and power are essentially coequal: whoever has power has the right to command; but goodness does not ensure power and the good person has no more authority by virtue of being good. Machiavelli argues that the only concern of the political ruler should be the acquirement and upkeep of power. He argues that the notion of legitimate rights of ruler ship adds nothing to the actual possession of power. The Prince purports to reflect the self-conscious political realism that integrity and right are not adequate to win and sustain political office. Power characteristically defines political activity, and is required for any thriving ruler to know how power is to be used. Only by the proper application of power ...Show more

Summary

In the following paper, Aristotle's polity and Machiavelli and Hobbes's theories on politics are discussed. A detailed analysis of each theory is given in comparison to each other and in comparisons Aristotle's polity. Finally, there is a detailed discussion on how and why Machiavelli and Hobbes's concepts on proper political legitimacy would not be parallel to Aristotle's application of human nature to produce adequate political schemes for each separate society.
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Political theory essay example
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