In a Machiavellian spirit – and, indeed, with Machiavelli's own language – Hobbes proclaims “Force, and Fraud” “the two Cardinall vertues” (90). As superlative as his praise of them is, however, it is definitely bounded, for he will recognize them as virtues, let alone the highest ones, only in the state of nature; they are, in fact, to be proscribed outside of the state of nature. After the state of nature is overturned, new virtues, ones that reject both aggression and competition, replace the old.
Machiavelli, by contrast, recognizes no such limit on these two so-called virtues. They are indispensable at all times for individuals who seek to rise in the world. In some sense, war is the fundamental condition not only among sovereign states but also among individuals. The Italian seems to have contemplated the possibility of the elimination of war, but he shuns that very possibility when he takes the side of Rome's patricians in their opposition to the plebeians who sought to be unchained from their city's wars. War is to be cultivated, in his view, and those most hungry for its honors must be embraced, despite the dangers such individuals present when they turn their aggressive instincts on the state itself.
The battles that thrill Machiavelli repel Hobbes. And therein rests a great deal of the difference between the two thinkers.