The Prince

We Just Don’t Get It: A Study of Machiavellian Versus Aristotelian Theories of Human Nature College

To be a great leader, one must first understand the people that they are leading. Human nature is complex. It is crucial for a leader to understand what the people desire and how they act in order to lead them. However, the elaborate complexities of human nature and human emotions can be difficult to predict and understand. Niccolo Machiavelli and Aristotle expand on the topic of leadership in their books The Prince and Nicomachean Ethics, respectively. Both men build their leadership principles off of basic assumptions about human nature. These assumptions are vastly different from each other and result in almost polar opposite leadership strategies. Machiavelli presents an idea of leadership that centers around controlling the populace in order to advance the prince’s desires and goals. Aristotle's view of leadership is one of providing a state for the people to thrive in, in order to achieve their ultimate happiness. Machiavelli and Aristotle's differing views of leadership came from their radically different views of human nature. The following expands on what exactly Machiavelli and Aristotle’s views of human nature were, how those views were influenced by the worlds around them, and how these ideas of human nature...

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