A Compare and Contrast of Thomas Moore’s Utopia and Machiavellis the Prince
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Just vs. Viable
To be just is to be fair and honorable. Kids are taught that if you are kind and just you will excel and be successful. But life’s not fair and being just doesn’t necessary mean that a society will stand the test of time and be able to grow. The two different societies introduced in More’s Utopia and Machiavelli’s The Prince are very different and although More’s Utopian society would be considered more just then Machiavelli’s society. Machiavelli’s society is more realistic and more likely to be viable.
Leadership is a major issue when it comes to whether or not a society is going to be viable. It seems that if the leader is a good leader, a leader that puts his people first and wants the best for his country, then the land and the society should flourish. But if the leader is a bad leader, a power driven leader, a leader who puts himself first, and lets his people starve while he and his nobles live in excess, then the society and land will not flourish. This idea is not demonstrated to us in Utopia or The Prince; it seems like the exact opposite.
Utopia has a more democratic government. Each set of households elects someone and then those elects elect others, and although there is a prince they still have the power to throw him out of office if he’s involved in any wrong doing. And although their prince doesn’t have as much power as a prince in Machiavelli’s writing the prince in Utopia serves a different purpose. The prince in Utopia is there to provide stability. With the syphogrants and tranibors changing annually the stability of a constant figure head is needed. More describes the government as follows
“Once a year, every group of thirty households elects an official,
Formerly called the syphogrant, but now called the phylarch. Over
Every group of ten syphogrants with their households there is another official, once called the tranibor but now known as the head phylarch. All the syphogrants, two hundred in number, are brought together to elect the prince. They take an oath to choose the man they think best qualified; and then by secret ballot they elect they prince from among four men nominated by the people of the four sections of the city. The prince holds office for life, unless he is suspected of aiming at a tyranny. Though the tranibors are elected annually they are not changed for light or casual reasons. All other officials hold office for a single year only. ”
Any one can be a syphogrant or tranibor. And once you have a chance to be one you can not be re-elected. This prevents the same people from always being in office. And although you can campaign for office it is looked down upon. They believe the if you want the office that much you must have ulterior motives fueling you, so you wont be elected. They also had a rules whose purpose was to “prevent the prince and the tranibors from conspiring together to alter the government and enslave the people. ”
Although the Utopians are free, they don’t exercise their freedom and they have slaves. The slaves are people captured from other nations that don’t have Utopian ideals and Utopians that have committed a crime. More also says that
“Slaves, moreover, are permanent and visible