What Was Machiavelli's View Of Human Nature

Describe Machiavelli's view of human nature. How do his views of government follow from it? 

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Machiavelli takes a very cynical, jaded view of human nature that can be summed up by the following statement in Chapter 17, "Concerning Cruelty and Clemency, and Whether It is Better to Be Feared Than Loved." Machiavelli claims that it is better for a leader to be feared than loved because

this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life and children, as is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you. And that prince who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined . . .

Essentially, he regards people as inherently craven, self-interested, and untrustworthy. So, while it is useful to be loved, and being hated can only lead to problems for a ruler, a prince should not rely on the love of his people, who will turn on him as soon as they perceive a benefit in...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 815 words.)

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