Main Factors in Machiavelli’s Approach to Political Thought and Practice Essay

Assignment Instructions:

Identify and discuss three main factors in Machiavelli’s approach to political thought and practice that are considered to be a break from the previous classical thinkers, establishing an approach to modern political thought.

  • Please answer the following question in essay form. This question is worth 100 points.
  • You are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the theorists and concepts we have studied.
  • Your essay should be at least the equivalent of one double-spaced page and no more than two double-spaces pages.
  • Your essay must contain parenthetical citations from the lessons, primary sources, and web resources.

For this essay, create a short introduction and thesis that you will develop through the three points in your paper. 

Review the attached document for developing a political theory style thesis and paper.

Web reading:
1. Enlightenment Timeline

2. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, SEP: Entry and Section 3-3.5 (all subsections).

3. Jean-Jacque Rousseau, Life, State of Nature, Social Contract/General Will, IEP: Sections 1a, b; 4a-c   

4. Modern Social Contract Theory, Rousseau, IEP: Section 2c.

5. Immanuel Kant’s Social and Political Philosophy, Freedom, Social Contract, Republics: Sections 2,3,4

4. Immanuel Kant, Ethics (categorical imperative): Entry and Section 8a-d.

1. Immanuel Kant, An Answer to the Question: “What is Enlightenment?” Konigsberg, Prussia, 30th September 1784.  Optional but recommended

This article as one of several replies among public intellectuals at the time to a question posed by a Reverend and Russian government official on clergy, morality, and enlightenment.  Kant’s article had the most public impact as he addresses some of the causes of a lack of enlightenment and preconditions necessary for people to enlighten themselves. 

Not Required but interesting and helpful:
1. Immanuel Kant Explained: Video Lecture from Harvard University’s Michael Sandel: “What’s the Right thing to do? Mind Your Motive,” Episode 06.

                                     Professor Sandel introduces Immanuel Kant, a challenging but influential philosopher. Kant argues that each of us has certain fundamental duties and rights that take precedence over maximizing utility. Kant rejects the notion that morality is about calculating consequences (Open Courseware, Academic Earth)