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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Political Systems - 1348 words
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.. to power by popularity, either by the nobles or the citizens, 'above all else try to win over the people, which will be easy if you protect them'. If Machiavelli feels this strongly about winning the people over by protecting them it appears that it is quite feasible that a logical case for the Welfare State could be made. Obviously, when Machiavelli refers to protecting the people he means by the army. However a Welfare State - the concept of which was not incepted until the nineteenth century - would bring a number of advantages which appear to agree with Machiavellis argument, firstly it will allow more members of the state to be healthier, consequently a healthier body of citizens will mean a larger and healthier army. Secondly, it will make them more benevolent towards the Monarch, especially if he takes credit for its conception, 'do those things that increase popularity'.
It appears not to violate Machiavellis laws on generosity and meanness, here it is stated that if generosity is practised to benefit the 'vast majority.and acting meanly to the few to whom he gives nothing' in the defence of the country, it is good. Being generous to the elite is bad and so undesirable. Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) the first German Chancellor (The Iron Chancellor) was considered an ultraroyalist and waged aggressive foreign policies, he however also created universal suffrage, a codification of law, reformed the coinage and created a minimal welfare state in order to consolidate a young German state and unify the people behind him.It is of course easy to argue against this idea of the Welfare State being consistent with Machiavelli, for example, it may be suggested that if the people are weak they will be too concerned with problems such as food to worry about other throwing the Sovereign. However, hunger is only a slight injury and is not protecting the people. This the people can avenge.In 'A Discourse on Inequality' Rousseau pictures his ideal place of birth and consequently how the average citizen living under his system would live, it would be well governed; democratic - where the Sovereign and the People are the same; there would be equality; everyone knew each other well and consequently no act of vice or virtue could go unnoticed, 'a state where the delectable habit of meeting and knowing one another made love of country a love for fellow citizens rather a love for the land.' But most importantly Rousseau 'wished to live and die free'Under Rousseau, the individual has little property rights, the people as a whole own the land, 'Because public possession is in simple fact more secure and more irrevocable than private possession, without being any more legitimate'. The only sign of ownership is that no one previously owns it, it has signs of cultivation, and no individual may have more land than that he needs for subsistence.The average citizen under Machiavellis system can be seen to be a healthy individual who is most likely to be involved somehow in the defence of the country, directly in the Army or indirectly in support. They would be law abiding because of the great fear of punishment, which would more often than not be severe. They would be free to carry out any activity they wish to do as long as it not against the Monarchs will or considered subversive
If the citizen belongs to a recently conquered country, the way of life should not be too different from the previous regime as the laws should not have been changed. He is less likely to be involved in the army and would probably live a subsistence life. He would be subject to direct rule and should be able to have direct access to the Monarch. As time goes on and the conquered country begins to take on the characteristics of the dominant state, the life of the citizen may change to one similar to the conquering country.The individual living under Rousseaus' political system would live in a relatively small area, possibly a town or small city so that it is easy for him to know everyone. He would be constantly attending meetings where he must debate and decide whether an action was free or not.
He would have little or no privacy because he has no rights, plus it is the right of the People to know every 'vice and virtue'. He would be relatively self sufficient, able to make repairs on his home and grow his own food. He would accept and not be able to break any of the laws that the General Will has created because he would morally agree with them. If he did attempt to break any of the laws, everyone else would know and force him to adhere to it; he would not necessarily be forced because it was immoral but because by remaining within the laws, he is free. A good example of this notion often referred to as 'being forced to be free' is the road transport system, there are laws which govern the way cars are driven (for example: drive only on the left), if everyone is forced to keep to these laws, the roads are less impeded by other cars and everyone has the maximum possible freedom. The lives of the two ordinary citizens would both have different emphasis.
They would have different beliefs, for example, a Rousseauian citizen would have strong notions of freedom and autonomy whereas the Machiavellian individual would be loyal to their ruler as long as he believes he benefits from being ruled. However both citizens still have a single person 'governing' their laws, one has a Monarch, the other has a 'Lawgiver'.Both have to live under a system of rules which they have no choice but to adhere to. These rules are rigid and the punishment for breaking them is quick. It does appear that both citizens could go about their daily life in a fairly similar way, they are free to do what they wish as long as they do not infringe on the laws of the land. An individual living in a conquered country under Machiavelli would not be part of the army and so would probably live a subsistence life much like Rousseaus' citizen.
a very notable difference is that a citizen living under Rousseaus' system would know everybody in the 'state', Under Machiavelli, it could be any size, but most likely much larger. Rousseaus' citizen would constantly be attending meetings and voting in the assembly. Machiavellis' citizen would most likely have no or little notion of democracy or freedom.As can now be seen, both Machiavelli and Rousseau are attempting to solve a problem with different priorities. For one it is freedom, the other it is power. It is natural to assume that the systems now put forward by the two writers are very different and they both are. Both have notable characteristics such as Machiavellis' notion that a ruler should not reward his close servants at a detriment to the majority, or Rousseaus' idea of regaining freedom.
Both do not describe in detail exactly what should occur but instead give a loose pragmatic framework which allow many possibilities to be covered, for example it could be argued that Machiavelli would have been in favour of a Welfare State.Both appear to fall down on a number of issues, for Machiavelli this can be seen to be the decline in the number of absolute monarchies and the frequency of invasion, especially in Europe. Rousseau fails to adequately explain the position of the Lawgiver. The beliefs of each citizen are very different. as described earlier, their daily routine would not be all that different, it appears that it would be possible to have similar laws (although for different reasons). They both have an individual above them, they both would be free to do anything they feel that does not break the laws or threaten the monarch/social contract. To summarise, it does appear that both citizens would live similar lives.
Research paper and essay writing, free essay topics, sample works Political Systems
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