Introduction by Ms. Pratishtha,
Expert in International Relation.
We have witnessed many scholars, thinkers, philosophers or politicians who have unique ideas about
the politics, international relations, philosophies and logical approaches towards realism. One of the
most prominent ideas about international politics were presented by Niccolo Machiavelli. He discussed
his perspective about realism in his two books: The Prince and The Discourse.
He analysed the political scenario of his time and wrote against the views of the Utopian Reference of
international relations. In ‘The Prince’, he discussed the ways that the state should be administered
and its international relations be handled. He was criticised for his immoral acts of deception to run
the state and bring in the light for the personality word as ‘Machiavellian’1 which means evil.
He was one of the famous diplomats in the late 15th to early 16th Century who served in affairs of
diplomacy and military. He is referred to as Father of Modern Political Philosophy and Political
. He was the official serving at the Florentine Republic who dedicated his infamous book to
Lorenzo di Piero de’ Medici (the ruler of Florentine) during the time of upheaval of the Italian Wars.
The Prince reflects the methods in which the ruler or the king should lead their states in distinction to
the Republican form of government. His other work as Discourses on Livy also favoured his ideals for
this form of government that he discussed in The Prince. After following the advice of Machiavelli,
Medici was later tortured and exiled.
The main focus of Machiavelli was to keep the royal hereditary intact. These principles were majorly
for the new prince to get attuned to the new power that has been confounded on him. The prince must
be careful to retain the royal power as he is new to his duties. This way a ruler can create a stable
political status and can bring security within the society, keeping the immoral activities in view.
1 R. James Ferguson, “Essays in History, Politics and Culture”, 2004, http://www.international-
2 Umar Butler, “A Comparison of the Views of Niccolò Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes on Politics”, November
2018, Accessed 13 Sep. 2020.
Main Ideas about International Politics
Niccolo understood that to handle international relations, the state must be carefully ruled by the king
to give a positive reflection to the other states. The internal affairs help in structuring foreign affairs.
For him, the state holds the supreme position and is the whole unit within itself in regards to domestic
and international affairs. The internal matters of the state must be given the main priority to the public
interest which will help in maintaining the stability of the state. In this way, when any sovereign entity
shows the solid platform of the internal affairs, it instinctively reflects the reputation and power of this
. Such characteristic of this type of government can increase the probability of survival in terms
of politics and territorial control.
These ideas are the reflection of the modern society that we are dealing with that is why he is also
known as Father of Modern Political Philosophy and Political Science. He also suggested that the
internal and external affairs are to be dealt distinctively to control the state effectively. But his idea of
unscrupulous acts leads to the formation of dictatorial power in the role which can come into play if
the princely power is under threat even by the royal family members.
Comparison between Thomas Hobbes and Niccolo Machiavelli
Firstly, as a Scholar, Hobbes discussed his theories in the form of scientific research. He puts the
logical approach to understanding human behaviour in a certain set of environments. Whereas,
Machiavelli was the diplomat for the Florentine Republic. His conclusions were based on the
observational approach and in the practical world. Both of these philosophers’ deal with the
behavioural pattern of the human but the underlying difference is the approach used by them.
Secondly, in de Corpore4
, Hobbes’s perspective on the scientific view is very prominent as he further
discusses how physics, mathematics, geometry influences human habits. He calls political science as
the science of politics where he explained the logical understanding of the factors that effect the peace
of the state. In contrast to this perspective, Machiavelli didn’t create a hypothetical situation to
3 Marco Cesa, “Machiavelli on International Relations”, Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2015, chap. 1.2,
Accessed 13 Sep. 2020, https://oxford.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199673698.0
4 David Gardner, “Thomas Hobbes and Niccolo Machiavelli: A Comparison”, E-International Relations, Sep 1 2010,
understand the people. He concluded based on humanistic empiricist approach as this study is crucial
and can help in concluding the theories normatively.
Despite the differences, these politicians had similar grounds for supreme governance which can
enforce people to behave morally and keeping the stability of the state in the highest order. People can
leave the ground of morality very easily, which is why it is necessary to succeed and to sustain the
political structure. The only difference that we can observe with both these thinkers are the actions of
violence and immorality in the methods of Machiavelli.
Strengths & Weaknesses of Machiavelli
Machiavelli was a thinker ahead of his times5
. He wrote his famous books in the times of war which
reflects his attitude as per the scenario he was living in.
Machiavelli promoted the strategic and critical6
thinking of the ruler. We must understand the
criticality of our position which can influence many and ensure to practice the good strategies for
effectively leading the organization.
If immoral and unscrupulous acts are ignored, Machiavelli understands the real interpretation of human
behaviour in the practical form. Many successful people followed Machiavellian positive style to rule
the states like Baruch Spinoza, Diderot and Rousseau.
Machiavelli is called as sycophant7 who can go to any lengths to sustain the noble hierarchy. It is
necessary to keep the check on the fact that it is not the practical handbook to live by the politicians or
philosophers in this era of the republic and sovereign state features.
5 David Morrison, “What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to being the kind of leader Machiavelli
describes?” eNotes Editorial, 23 June 2018, Accessed 15 Sep. 2020. https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-some-
6 Enrique Rubio, “The Good and The Bad of Machiavellian Leadership”. LinkedIn, May 3, 2016,
7 Paul Keaveny, “Contentious politics: Hobbes, Machiavelli and corporate power”, The Conversation, November 20,
2015, Accessed 13 Sep. 2020, https://theconversation.com/contentious-politics-hobbes-machiavelli-and-corporate-power
The language used by him was satirical which seems to exaggerate some underrated issues like the
killing of the fathers and the family for the sake of keeping the safety of the crown. His style of
explanation doesn’t feel to be persuasive in terms of political realism.
Also, he does not take the responsibility for the change of the behaviour of human as per the time
because his writings were not approached logically. Rather, they were based on observational approach
of Machiavelli which could not be generalised on the public. So, the people in the political play will
never understand the time for when they need to stop.
In the conclusion, I disagree with Machiavelli’s point of view. His ideas were not logically connected
which brings down the effective plan for the rulers. His perspective may work for the smaller units for
a shorter period but is not effective for the large units and longer periods.
http://www.international-relations.com/History/Machiavelli.htm David Gardner, “Thomas Hobbes and Niccolo Machiavelli: A Comparison”, E-International
Relations, Sep 1 2010, Accessed 13 Sep. 2020,
https://www.e-ir.info/2010/09/01/thomas-hobbes-and-niccolo-machiavelli-a-comparison/ Enrique Rubio, “The Good and The Bad of Machiavellian Leadership”. LinkedIn, May 3, 2016,
Accessed 13 Sep. 2020
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/good-bad-machiavellian-leadership-enrique-rubio/ David Morrison, “What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to being the kind of
leader Machiavelli describes?” eNotes Editorial, 23 June 2018, Accessed 13 Sep. 2020.
13531. Paul Keaveny, “Contentious politics: Hobbes, Machiavelli and corporate power”, The
Conversation, November 20, 2015, Accessed 13 Sep. 2020,
48223 Umar Butler, “A Comparison of the Views of Niccolò Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes on
Politics”, November 2018, Accessed 13 Sep. 2020,
 Marco Cesa, “Machiavelli on International Relations”, Oxford Scholarship Online: February
2015, chap. 1.2, Accessed 13 Sep. 2020,