Comparison Of Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, and Machiavelli

It is easy to think that Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi are right in their counsels to use power as justly and compassionately as possible and to dismiss the writings of Machiavelli as a power-hungry, dangerous fanatic. But to do so is to ignore an essential part of any analysis of the rights and responsibilities of power - the historical context in which that power is being used. Most of us would surely rather have a Gandhi or a King leading our nation than a Machiavelli. But is this really true?
King and Gandhi both worked tirelessly to make lives better for a group of people who were oppressed, and both sought to bring a greater degree of justice into the world by using ...

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But they were also aided in their campaigns by the knowledge that the regimes that they were facing - whether London or Washington - were governed by the rule of law. Of course, this does not mean that British officers did not sometimes kill Indians with impunity or that blacks were not lynched by Klan members. However, it does mean that King did not have to worry, for example, that the U.S. government would drop atomic weapons on Montgomery. In both cases, these two men who advocated peaceful resistance knew that their adversaries - many of whom were racist, some of whom were willing to use force - were nonetheless in most cases restrained by ideals of civilized behavior.
In order to see how King and Gandhi benefited from being faced by relatively civilized opponents, we can contrast the circumstances that they faced in the early to mid-20th century with those faced with Niccolo Machicavelli.
While most people are familiar with the adjective "machiavellian", very few are ...

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and customs. Machiavelli did also argue that the same standards of morality cannot be applied to rulers as to those that are ruled because the conditions of their lives and the extent of their responsibilities are so different from each other that a single set of standards for behavior cannot obtain. Machiavelli's insistence on this position reflected the political realities of his own times, in which the city-states of Italy as well as a number of other sovereign interests across Europe all eagerly engaged in promoting political turmoil and violence for personal gain. Machiavelli urged royal leaders to look beyond possible personal gains of the moment to work for the common good ...

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"Comparison Of Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, and Machiavelli." Essayworld.com. August 18, 2015. Accessed January 20, 2018. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Comparison-Martin-Luther-King-Jr-Gandhi/104908.
"Comparison Of Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, and Machiavelli." Essayworld.com. August 18, 2015. Accessed January 20, 2018. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Comparison-Martin-Luther-King-Jr-Gandhi/104908.
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Added: 8/18/2015 03:02:51 AM
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