The Differences Between Hobbes And Machiavelli 's Human Nature

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Notwithstanding the deep similarities in Hobbes’ and Machiavelli’s human nature, they solve the resulting problem of persistent clashes in distinctly different manners. Hobbes wishes to stamp out conflict in all forms within a city to achieve peace. To achieve this, all citizens must create social contracts between each other, mutually agreeable covenants forming the basis of Hobbes’ interpersonal interactions. Thus a sovereign is created, “one person [or group of people], of whose acts a great multitude, by mutual covenants with one another, have made themselves every one the author, to the end he may use the strength and means of them all, as he shall think expedient, for their peace and common defense” (Leviathan 114). The sovereign, the supreme unifying force, serves as the soul and the will for the commonwealth, acting alone on behalf of all. Any given state can only have one of such sovereigns, for an erection of two or more sovereigns would split the power drawn from the populace, leading to internal conflict and a return to the the state of nature. The best sovereign body consists of only one man, for a sovereign must act with one voice. In an aristocracy or a democracy, the sovereign tends to split because of the selfish nature of each member, and this causes a devolution back into the warlike state. Thus the commonwealth ideally must have a monarch with absolute power given to him by agreement between every citizen. Only then can the war-like natural state be…

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