Augustine Of Hippo And Machiavelli Analysis

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Both Augustine of Hippo and Niccolo Machiavelli seem to be “pessimistic” philosophers, taking a dim view of human history and human nature. However, their understandings of human nature are fundamentally different from, and to some extent, incompatible with each other. For Augustine, humans are sinful creatures, not by nature or creation, but by their choice of disobedience made from their defective free will, so salvation comes from God — loving God and faith in God. States should be based on morality and love to each other. For Machiavelli, humans are sinful creatures by human nature. Salvation of good governance, governing all the sinful humans, comes from force, manipulation and power, rather than obedience to God. States should …show more content…
For example, coercion is unnatural, in Augustine’s mind, regardless of the purpose. He also affirms that God intended humans to exercise dominion only over irrational creatures and members of their families. (City of God 19.14) From Augustine’s perspective, political authority is a result of human sinfulness because it requires coercion. Moreover, if Adam and Eve did not sin at beginning, the only type of human groups existing in the world would be biblical patriarchs — no political organizations would be …show more content…
Good qualities like honesty, faithfulness, mercy, and grace are appealing to human beings, and “everyone will appreciate how admirable it is for a ruler to keep his word and be honest rather than deceitful.” (Ch18) Humans feel that there is always a need to justify anything that is immoral. (Ch17,66) People desire peace, and detest conflicts and corruption, which are contradictory in themselves. Augustine insists that humans ought to follow the goodness and morality and God, while the government provides restraints of the conflicts and corruption and evilness in human nature. On the other hand, Machiavelli declares that morality does not matter to a good ruler, and “it is seeming to be virtuous that helps” in politics. (Ch 18, 70) In fact, sometimes virtues are dangerous and lead to the ruin of the ruler and even the state, since people are “ungrateful and unreliable”. (Ch 17,

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