Descriptions of Government:
Machiavelli Vs. Garcilaso de la Vega
The following passages were written by writers who were reflecting not only on the past, but also on places and events they had personally witnessed.
In this excerpt from The Discourses, Italian writer Niccolò Machiavelli discusses six types of government—three good and three bad.
[T]he three bad ones result from the degradation of the other three. . . . Thus monarchy becomes tyranny; aristocracy degenerates into oligarchy; and the popular government lapses readily into licentiousness [lack of restraint]. [S]agacious legislators . . . have chosen one that should partake of all of them, judging that to be the most stable and solid. In fact, when there is combined under the same constitution a prince, a nobility, and the power of the people, then these three powers will watch and keep each other reciprocally in check.
Why does Machiavelli think a combined government is the best type of government?
Garcilaso de la Vega
This description of government administration comes from Garcilaso’s history of the Inca.
[Local administrators] were obliged each lunar month to furnish their superiors . . . with a record of the births and deaths that had occurred in the territory administered by them. . . . [E]very two years . . . the wool from the royal herds was distributed in every village, in order that each person should be decently clothed during his entire life. It should be recalled that . . . the people . . . possessed only very few cattle, whereas the Inca’s and the Sun’s herds were . . . numerous. . . . Thus everyone was always provided with clothing, shoes, food, and all that is necessary in life.
What and how did the Incan authorities provide for the common people’s needs?
1. How do Osaka Castle and Topkapi Palace project the importance of their owners?
2. Does Machiavelli favor a system of government that would provide directly for people’s needs?
3. Task: Use the library to get some additional information about the government structure of the Incan Empire and Renaissance Venice. Then draw an organizational chart for each of those governments