Both Martin Luther King Jr. and Niccolo’ Machiavelli had their own perspectives on what was moral and immoral. King and Machiavelli view what was morality right and how they would use this judgment in government and how it affected people in everyday life. King fought a moral fight against what was described as immoral laws to oppress blacks during an era of segregation in the United States. He believes that sometime it is moral to take action against immoral laws to get the results he and others that fought alongside him desired.
Machiavelli as a Ruler, during a time when his country was unstable and constant political in-fighting, believed it was better to be feared than loved, and he took the immoral action of oppression to gain respect morally from his followers as a result. Machiavelli was a believer of the art of war to gain power, while King believed power was achieved in non-violence. In “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, King came to Birmingham for what he believed to be crimes against a race of people as injustice. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (482).
Practicing what he preached, King nonviolent action still landed him in jail. King’s nonviolent campaigns consist of four basic steps to accomplish sometime unachievable goals. “Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue” (483). Protesting and marches was organized because the people that were subject to unjust laws knew that taking their fight before a judge in a court room did not stand a chance.
These were the very people that want to keep blacks oppressed. “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed” (484). King had specific actions for desired results against immoral unjust laws, but fought back morally by obeying lawful constitution rights. My findings from “The Prince”, Machiavelli can be described as cunning, evil, and violent.
Heavily influenced by pre-Christian political hilosophy, Machiavelli believes violence could gain him respect through fear and intimidation which a leader need to have what he called virtue and prudence. Machiavelli claims Moses killed his own people to enforce his will and would have not been unable to do so if he was not armed. “The chief foundations of all states, new as well as old or composite, are good laws and good arms; and as there cannot be good laws where the state is not well armed, it follows that where they are well armed they have good laws” (Machiavelli).
Machiavelli was cleaver in that he understood the art of providing for his people to ensure they are protect and content, in returning he demand honor and respect from them. He believe, “A wise prince should follow similar methods and never remain idle in peaceful times, but industriously make good use of them, so that when fortune changes she may find him prepared to resist her blows, and to prevail in adversity” (523).
Machiavelli actions to use violence as a power of persuading results to how one want to appear to be seen, “whether it be better to be loved more than feared, or feared more than loved” (526). Inaction can be just as dangerous as taking action, when the results are just as detrimental. Action in the moral sense will reveal results with promises of hope. King led by example, stressed nonviolence through his call for sit-ins and marches. He wanted to end segregation in public life and in job discrimination.
Machiavelli dictated his ideas and how a leader should guide. He believe to protect yourself from an attack is to attack others. King and Machiavelli had different opinions on how to take action on issues. Their philosophy was similar but their thought process was different in that, King’s theory was to accomplish change through nonviolence and Machiavelli thoughts was to use deception and second guessing to his advantage. Although both men differ in practices their action was to establish security, love, and honor among men.
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