Role of War in Society

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Role of War in Society
Stephanie Young

Both The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli and Utopia by Thomas Moore examine the role and the importance of war to maintain a strong and successful society. More (via Hythloday) believes that war should be the last option and is not needed in a safe and happy government without the help of auxiliaries and mercenaries while on the other hand, Machiavelli believes that war plays a crucial war in a prosperous and thriving society using other troops and people to avoid war. Machiavelle uses his belief that war is the way to have a strong successful government to shape the society of Italy while More uses the belief of peace and forbearance of war to shape his utopian society.

More and Machiavelli have opposing opinions on the values and how the way it can maintain a stability and prosperity in a society. Machiavelli believes that power is attained in a government through the conquering of war and that good law and government follows naturally from good military as we can see in Chapter 12. “The presence of sound military forces indicates the presence of sound law” (Machiavelli 37). This shows that he believes that a strong developing state directly involves the conquering of war. He believed that successful war is the very foundation upon which all states are built. Machiavelli praises Alexandar the Great, Cyrus, Scipio and Caesar as leaders who gained power through their conquering wars. “Anyone who reads Xenophon’s life of Cyrus must realize how close Scipio modeled himself on Cyrus, how much that imitation contributed to his glory, and how closely he conformed, in temperance, affability, humanity, and liberty to the thing that Xenophon wrote about Cyrus” (Machiavelli 42).

In contrast, More shows his views on war through the Utopians. “Nothing more inglorious than that glory that is gained by war" (More 64). The Utopians viewed war as the last resort and would avoid it at all costs. They hated war and...
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