Niccolo Machiavelli's and Martin Luther's Influence

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Machiavelli and Martin Luther were both hugely influential and controversial authors who wrote in times of turmoil. Although they had different focuses, Machiavelli's being political and Luther's being religious, they came to many similar conclusions, this may be in part to their reactions to a similar time period. Both authors saw the importance of looking into the past and using history as a tool to learn from. Luther believed more in returning to the past while Machiavelli saw it as a way to use what worked while learning from past mistakes. Their writings are filled with examples from the past to further their arguments. They were especially similar when it came to human free will, the role of God, and on the governing of the secular state. More specifically, both Machiavelli and Luther believed that there was an element of free will that humans could choose to take control of, and therefore determine their own outcomes; although there was an element of either God or Fortune weighing in. Also, when it came to the secular state, although their motives might have been different, they believed in similar actions that needed to be taken. The most interesting dynamic between the two would have to be in relation to the Catholic Church and how both viewpoints create a compellingly different view of the Church.

Machiavelli discusses human free will especially in its relation to God, or more specifically, fortune. He chooses to focus on Fortune though, leaving God out of the equation for the most part which he does in most of his writing, as he believes his writing is on politics which is separate from religion. He argues that the general belief is that Fortune and God govern human affairs and that it is easy for humans to...

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...s fascinating how Luther and Machiavelli's arguments relate to each other especially in terms of the Catholic Church.

In the end, although they come from two very different ends of the spectrum, free will and the secular state are places of common ground for Machiavelli and Luther, which is supported by their similar views of human nature and the order of how things should be. It is interesting that when each of their viewpoints is applied to the Catholic Church, it reveals a very different view of the Catholic Church; although Machiavelli would view it positively and Luther negatively, the juxtaposition truly emphasizes the success of Machiavelli's strategies. Although Luther's work did have an impact on the Church, it still continues to thrive. It is interesting that for two authors who have many similar views there would be a serious conflict in this area.

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