Compare And Contrast Thoreau And Machiavelli

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The difference of Machiavelli and Thoreau’s view on governing comes from the fact that they both are taking opposite perspectives on the same issue. Both discuss harsh governing. Machiavelli views it as necessary, while Thoreau views it as unjust, however Machiavelli is writing as one who governs, while Thoreau is writing as one being governed. The difference in audience is the cause for the differences between Machiavelli and Thoreau’s understanding of morality, humanity, and efficiency.
As someone who is being governed by a government he finds unjust, Thoreau believes we must object to anything we find morally wrong. He claims the public must rely on their morals, and conscience to stand up to a government that does not rely on morals and
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Contrarily Machiavelli is targeting the audience of a ruler, not of one being …show more content…
He believes in an idealistic world in which some men will dedicate their lives to the eradication of government immorality. He calls on the public to, "Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine." He has hope that, although often the masses are more like sheep than men, some will rise above and stand up to what they believe is wrong. More importantly Thoreau believes that the public has the ability to detect right from wrong, moral from immoral. This is something he does not question. Often he calls men weak and unable to stand up for what is right, but never does he say that the public cannot detect what is right vs. what is wrong. However Machiavelli sees the public as, "ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, and covetous (Machiavelli XVII)." and most importantly easily controlled. The Price reads as a how-to guide on easily manipulating men; Machiavelli believes as a ruler you can rely on the people not speaking out against you as long as you appear to be virtuous. Unlike Thoreau who has faith in human nature to notice when the government or a Prince is

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