To be “Machiavellian” is typically understood to mean clever or dishonest; generally unlikable traits in a general member of society. When asked to evaluate the current state of affairs in America today and look for the conceptions of liberty and corruption, the most accurate answer to this evaluation is through history. Looking at America and taking the previously studied writings of Machiavelli, is there any hope for the liberty America prides itself on or at least is there any way to stave off corruption? If we are to look through our American society through Machiavelli’s perspective, our perspective will be a lot more well-grounded if we first take a look at those who influenced Machiavelli before he in turn influenced our understanding as well. Starting off politics thousands of years before our time that we still study and attempt to imitate today are the Romans.
To understand Machiavelli’s conceptions of liberty it is best to first research the cultures and ideas that influenced him politically to gain the knowledge of both liberty and therefore the enemy of liberty, corruption. Machiavelli references the ancient Romans in many of his works due to how the Romans defined and employed certain conceptions including liberty as well as corruption. When discussing the nature of a free city, the Romans considered a city free if the city possessed autonomy, when the citizens lived under their own laws, and were not under the jurisdiction of foreigners. One term Machiavelli uses in describing the jurisdiction of foreigners is “Servitù” despite the foreigner’s institutions of ruling or matters of mercy or cruelty. In matters of liberty the Romans considered liberty a positive right that ...
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... Nederman, Cary, "Niccolò Machiavelli", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL =
Machiavelli, Niccolò. The Discourses. Ed. Bernard Crick. [Harmondsworth, Eng.]: Penguin, 1970. Print.
Machiavelli, Niccolò, and George Bull. The Prince. Harmondsworth, Eng.: Penguin, 1961. Print.
"Liberty." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.
"Corruption." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.
Fox, Lauren. "Congress Has Lowest Approval Rating Ever." US News. U.S.News & World Report, 22 Oct. 2013. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.
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