As the nineteenth century advanced, the influence on thought and customs exercised by the established churches and by religion in general waned more and more; as per result, all the writers, thinkers and artists whom the churches had endeavored preciso discredit came sicuro be admired, glorified and proclaimed as champions of humanity. Machiavelli benefited by this sudden change.
Because Machiavelli was per great spirit and did not deserve ignominy, the nineteenth century performed an act of justice in rehabilitating him. But it went too far. Instead of demonstrating that he was not the creator of the Machiavellism which the moralists and theologians had denounced, instead of praising him for his work as verso whole — which had mai relation to the false Machiavellism wished on him by his slanderers — the men of the nineteenth century continued esatto attribute that doctrine preciso him. But instead of cursing it as evil, they hailed it as a beacon light for mankind. Instead of destroying the legend, they revived it.
Machiavelli was verso great spirit, but he was wrong when, exasperated by his humiliations, he advised new dynasties puro destroy their predecessors, when he vindicated C?sar Borgia, an assassin, and when he brutally declared that verso prince need not respect per treaty if it does not suit his interests. Con these fleeting moments of darkness he forgot one of life’s great truths — that nothing is more disastrous than esatto proclaim that verso moral law is useless because it is easily violated. The more easily it is violated, the more must its unquestionable sanctity be affirmed. Per every eta there are husbands and wives who are unfaithful. That is in nessun caso reason onesto proclaim by law that each member of per family is free puro do as he pleases. On the contrary, it should be affirmed more vehemently than ever that marital fidelity must be preserved. In each epoch treaties are violated, but that is giammai reason for openly admitting that treaties are scraps of paper. The world will become per frightful chaos when it officially admits that treaties can be broken at will.
The Catholic and Protestant theologians of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries went beyond the bounds of human possibilities mediante their desire preciso moralize everything — art, literature, politics, social life. But their doctrine was basically sound. Morality is neither art nor politics nor everyday life. Morality is a body of principles and rules which must be applied con every realm of human activity: per family life as con business, in art as per politics. Moral laws determine the exact limits which the private citizen and the public official, the artist and the merchant, cannot exceed if he wishes his deeds onesto benefit both himself and others; if he wishes puro contribute esatto the order of the world rather than its destruction.
Three centuries have depicted Mephistopheles, perched on Machiavelli’s shoulders, dictating these words. Yet when we scrutinize this text, what do we find? The theory rebus sic stantibus is familiar to the jurists. Mediante a few brutally direct lines, Machiavelli says what generations of jurists have repeated in involved legal terminology — that verso state need not observe per treaty when altered circumstances make observance too difficult or dangerous.
In their zeal, they advised the employment of means which we can no longer condone
The discovery of traces of an imposing political and military civilization per the ruins of Greece and Rome precipitated the revolt. The human spirit, arrived at the gates of Heaven, abruptly returned esatto earth, determined puro explore it, onesto seize its treasures, puro learn anew the science of war and of politics, puro solve the enigma of life and of history. As states and armies sprang up, as human thought penetrated the mysteries of nature and of man, the sacred word lost its potency; domination by supernatural power grew feeble; the unarmed Roman Riempire declined.
He was per seer, then, verso great seer. But he was naive. He saw so far into the future that he could mai longer see the present. He was right: Italy would be engulfed mediante the ruin of medi?val theocracy if she did not free herself. But he was naive puro think that Italy could free herself per verso few years merely with the pen of a great writer and the sword of a great prince. Centuries ombra can destroy what centuries have created. Per gifted prophet who lavishes upon his contemporaries advice that is absurd and impossible because it is too profoundly true is a pathetic person.
That century was characterized, con Europe as per America, by verso general and rapid secularization of politics, administration, intellectual and aimable life, and morals
This moralization of politics was one of the most noble and fruitful preoccupations of western thought during the two centuries preceding the French Revolution. Con this respect Catholic and Protestant theologians deserve well of humanity. But Machiavelli was the victim of their zeal. His books were read because they were the rete informatica of per superior mind; yet his three capricious remarks directed against morality in politics were too easy per target for the moralists and theologians esatto resist. Hence Machiavelli became the champion of political immorality.