Machiavelli and King Comparison

Topics: Political philosophy, Decision theory, Philosophy Pages: 1 (282 words) Published: April 15, 2007
Comparison Paper: Machiavelli and King
Dr. Martin Luther King and Machiavelli, great philosophical minds of their respective times, differed in their opinions of many issues. Their opinions on these issues can be gathered from their literary works. Yet, despite being near-diametrically opposed to each other, King and Machiavelli did agree on certain things.

King and Machiavelli felt differently about what role a conscience should play in a leader's decision making process. King believed that a leader must use his conscience so that he may be just, while Machiavelli saw a conscience as a second-guessing pest that needs to be ignored. Machiavelli did not deny the presence of a conscience, but that a Kingly philosophy would make a leader weak.

Both men also held different opinions about whether there should be a difference between a leader's image and his or her true self. King led by example and showed his followers his true self. Machiavelli, unlike King, knowingly presented an alternate version of himself to his subjects when he stood to gain something from it.

Machiavelli and King did, however, share at least one opinion in common on the difference between one's image and reality. Both believed that most peoples' images are different from how they see themselves. King saw this as a problem that needed to be corrected. Machiavelli, on the other hand, wanted to use this deception to his advantage.

Both Dr. Martin Luther King and Machiavelli used their positions of leadership to spread their beliefs regarding major philosophical issues, which varied to a great extent. However, despite their differences, both men did have similar feelings about some issues, as gathered from their literary works.
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