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In Italy, warring city-states competed for power and territory. This political fragmentation allowed for new political ideas to emerge throughout Europe.
Several writers developed theories to support the emerging secular state, or a government not primarily based on religion. In Renaissance Italy, Niccolò Machiavelli in The Prince (see Topic 1.2) provided for new concepts of the state. As power transferred away from traditional religious bodies and toward secular states, such political theories strengthened the state institutions.
These political theories focused on two types of relationships—those between individuals and those between individuals and the state. The theories also explored the responsibilities inherent in such relationships, especially the state’s duty to take care of its people.
   Niccolò Machiavelli
Florentine 1469–1527
 Machiavellianism: Rulers should be willing to use cunning and deceit to keep themselves in power. Doing so will also help society by providing security and stable government.
His most famous work, The Prince, was written as a handbook for rulers and aspiring political leaders.
   • He is considered the father of modern political science.
• He argued that ambition
and therefore conflict are an inevitable part of human nature.
• He advocated for republicanism—the belief in states ruled by the consent of citizens through elected leaders rather than monarchs.
   Jean Bodin
French 1530–1596
 Absolute Sovereignty: Rulers of the sovereign state, operating by the doctrine of the divine right of kings, maintain peace by issuing laws
and dictating religion, regardless of whether the people consent.
His book Colloquium of the Seven is a conversation about truth among men from seven religious and intellectual traditions, including skepticism.
   • He spread the idea of the modern state as different from the personal holdings of the monarch.
• He viewed families (patriarchy) as the model for the state.
• He was an early advocate for religious tolerance.
   Hugo Grotius
Dutch 1583–1645
 Natural Law: Humans are born with certain innate rights. Leaders should govern by rational laws or ethical principles based in reason.
His book On the Law of War and Peace outlined the rules of war. Grotius argued that there are three just causes of war: self-defense, reparation of injury, and punishment.
   • He laid the foundation for international law and diplomacy, including freedom of the seas and humane treatment of civilians during war.
• He defined the idea of one society of states, governed by laws and agreement, not by force and warfare.
• His vision of an international society influenced the Peace of Westphalia (1648), which ended some conflicts among the Spanish, Dutch, and Germans.

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