Why does Niccolo Machiavelli insist so strongly on a single autocratic ruler?This is in contrast to Locke's concepts regarding popular sovereignty.
Looking at the political context of Machiavelli's work, we can see that he wrote during a time of extreme turmoil in Italy. The peninsula was basically a battleground in a struggle for supremacy between France and Spain, and the social, economic, and political effects of this fight were devastating. While he actually supported republican government in theory, he thought that the times demanded an autocratic leader who was willing to use guile, terror, and basically any means necessary to maintain the sovereignty of Florence. Locke, on the other hand, had witnessed the return to power of the Stuarts when he began writing his Two Treatises on Civil Government. (It was not written after the Glorious Revolution, as is commonly believed, but in the late 1670s.) He argued for a government founded on the fundamental rights to property, i.e. a representative government.