- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Described as a practical rule-book for the diplomat and a handbook of evil, this work provides an uncompromising picture of the true nature of power.
Of mixed principalities
It is in the new principality that the difficulties lie. First, if the principality is not completely new, but is like a limb or extension added to another principality (in which case we could almost call the whole state a mixed principality), its volatility stems mainly from a difficulty inherent in all new principalities. This is that men will willingly change their ruler in the hope that they will fare better, a hope that leads them to take up arms against their old ruler. But in this they are deceived, because, as they invariably discover, their lot under a new ruler is inevitably worse. This is the result of another natural and basic inevitability: that you cannot avoid offending those whose new ruler you are, both with your armed soldiers and with innumerable other provocations that come in the wake of a conquest. You end up making enemies of all those you have offended during your conquest of the principality, and you find that you cannot keep the friendship of those who helped you to power, since you cannot satisfy them in the way they had envisioned. Furthermore, you cannot take strong measures against them, as you are indebted to them. Even with the most powerful army, if you want to invade a state, you need the support of the people. It was for these reasons that King Louis XII of France was quick to occupy Milan, and just as quick to lose it. Duke Ludovico’s own forces were enough to win Milan back the first time, because the same masses that had opened the gates for Louis, finding themselves misled in their hopes for a better future, could not endure the new prince’s offenses5.
It is a fact that once a prince acquires a rebellious state for the second time, it also proves harder to lose that state a second time6. This is because the prince who seizes the opportunity of the rebellion has fewer scruples about securing his position by punishing offenders, flushing out suspects, and strengthening all the places where he is weakest. In this sense, it was enough for a Duke Ludovico to make a little noise along the borders for Louis XII to lose Milan the first time. But for him to lose Milan a second time the whole world had to unite against him, defeat his army, and chase it out of Italy7. This followed from the causes I have already laid out. Nonetheless, both the first and second time, Milan was taken from him.
The general reasons for the first loss have been discussed. It now remains to discuss the second, and to see what recourse someone in Louis’s position could have taken to maintain himself more securely in his new acquisition. I must stress that the states a prince acquires and adds to his own are either of the same country and language, or are not. If they are it is much easier to retain them, particularly if they are not used to freedom. To hold them securely, it is enough to extinguish the line of the previous prince who ruled them. As for the rest, if the new acquisition’s former state of affairs is kept and there is no difference in customs, men will live quite peacefully, as we have seen in Burgundy, Brittany, Gascony, and Normandy, which for a long time now have all belonged to France. Although there is some difference in language, their customs are similar, and their people get along with one another quite easily. He who acquires such states and wishes to retain them has to make sure of two things: that the bloodline of their former princes is extinguished, and that their laws and taxes remain the same. This way, the prince’s new state merges with the old, quickly becoming a single body.
But difficulties arise when you acquire states in a land with differing languages, customs, and laws. To keep these states, you need good fortune and much diligence. One of the best and quickest solutions is for the new prince to go and live in his new state. This makes the possession more durable and secure. The Turk did this in Greece8. With all the other measures he took to keep Greece in his possession, had he not gone to live there he would not have succeeded, because once the prince is established within his new state he is able to see problems as they arise and can remedy them. If he is not there, problems become obvious only once they are dire and can no longer be remedied. Furthermore, if he is present, his new state will not be looted by his officials, and his new subjects can enjoy immediate access to their prince. This will give them more reason to love him if they are on his side, and to fear him if they are not, and foreign powers wishing to attack his state will respect him more. Hence, if the prince lives in his new state, it is difficult for him to lose it.
Another efficient remedy is to set up colonies in one or two places that will act as the shackles of your new state. If you do not set up colonies, you will have to send a great number of troops to secure it, while a colony can be established and maintained at negligible cost. The only subjects who will be affronted are those whose fields and houses will be confiscated to be given to the new colonists. But these dispossessed subjects make up only a small part of the state and will end up poor and dispersed, and so can do no harm. The rest of your new subjects will not be affronted (and hence will be acquiescent), but will also be frightened of transgressing, worried that they too might be dispossessed. I conclude that colonies do not cost much, are loyal, and will cause less trouble. And as I have already mentioned, those you dispossess cannot harm you, as they will be poor and dispersed. In short, men must either be flattered or eliminated, because a man will readily avenge a slight grievance, but not one that is truly severe. Hence, the offense done a man must be of the kind that cannot incur vengeance.
If you choose armed forces instead of colonies, you will spend more and will have to squander all the income from the new state in order to pay the army. This will turn the acquisition into a loss, and all your new subjects will end up offended, since an army, constantly on the move and constantly requartered, hurts the whole state. Everyone feels the pain, and everyone becomes your enemy. And these are enemies who can harm you, because though they have been defeated, they remain on their own ground. So in every sense, using armed forces is as useless as setting up colonies is useful.
It is also important when a prince has conquered a foreign state that he become the protector of the surrounding weaker powers, and do all he can to weaken the stronger ones. He must take precautions so that no foreigner equal in power manages to enter his new state. If he should enter, it will be because he was brought in by discontented factions driven by ambition or fear. We saw this in the case of the Aetolians who introduced the Romans into Greece;9 and in every other province in which the Romans set foot, it was with the help of some of the inhabitants. The order of things is that the moment a powerful invader takes over a state, all the weaker factions within it join forces with him, spurred on by their envy of the ruler who had wielded power over them before. In other words, the new prince has no trouble winning the weaker factions over, because they will willingly become part of his new state. He has only to see to it that they do not gain too much power and authority. With his forces and their favor, he can easily bring down those who are powerful so that he will remain the only arbiter in the land. He who does not follow this course will quickly lose all he has gained, and will be plagued by infinite difficulties while he holds power.
5. Louis XII occupied Milan in September 1499, but was ousted in February 1500 by Ludovico Sforza. Louis, however, managed to recapture Milan within two months.
6. Once Louis XII recaptured Milan, it remained under his rule until 1512.
7. The Holy League of 1511, organized by Pope Julius II, was an anti-French coalition that included Spain, Venice, the Holy Roman Empire, England, and the Swiss. The League managed to drive the French out of Milan in May 1512.
8. The Turks occupied Constantinople in 1453, and in 1457 transferred the capital of the Ottoman Empire from Edirne to Constantinople.
|Machiavelli's Principal Works|
|Letter to the Magnificent Lorenzo de Medici||1|
|I||How many kinds of principality there are and the ways in which they are acquired||5|
|IV||Why the kingdom of Darius conquered by Alexander did not rebel against his successors after his death||13|
|V||How cities or principalities which lived under their own laws should be administered after being conquered||16|
|VI||New principalities acquired by one's own arms and prowess||17|
|VII||New principalities acquired with the help of fortune and foreign arms||20|
|VIII||Those who come to power by crime||27|
|IX||The constitutional principality||31|
|X||How the strength of every principality should be measured||34|
|XII||Military organization and mercenary troops||39|
|XIII||Auxiliary, composite, and native troops||43|
|XIV||How a prince should organize his militia||47|
|XV||The things for which men, and especially princes, are praised or blamed||49|
|XVI||Generosity and parsimony||51|
|XVII||Cruelty and compassion; and whether it is better to be loved than feared, or the reverse||53|
|XVIII||How princes should honour their word||56|
|XIX||The need to avoid contempt and hatred||58|
|XX||Whether fortresses and many of the other present-day expedients to which princes have recourse are useful or not||67|
|XXI||How a prince must act to win honour||71|
|XXII||A prince's personal staff||75|
|XXIII||How flatterers must be shunned||76|
|XXIV||Why the Italian princes have lost their states||78|
|XXV||How far human affairs are governed by fortune, and how fortune can be opposed||79|
|XXVI||Exhortation to liberate Italy from the barbarians||82|
|Glossary of Proper Names||86|
Many Americans do not understand the motives and actions of the politicians whom they elect. The voters have expectations, but they fail to appreciate that the politicians have personal and professional agendas. THE PRINCE rips the curtain away to expose the true motivations of politicians, whether a "progressive" agenda of Barak Obama, the "left-wing liberal" bias of Nancy Pelosi, the "tea party conservative" blurts of Sarah Palin, or the vague agendas of the smilingly attractive and apparently patriotic and caring (but otherwise unknown) candidates for local school board. Despots aren't made; they're chosen. Leaders aren't born; they're made. Followers aren't created; they're the people who give away their rights and responsibilities to others who offer to think and choose for them. Machiavelli didn't invent the rules; he simply observed the rise and dominance of the most powerful family in Italian history and shared their secrets with posterity. Truth is truth, whether it describes Renaissance Venice during the time of great painters and corrupt popes or Washington DC during the time of vapid platitudes and bloated bureaucracies. EVERY management, business, political science, sociology, psychology, and education major should read this book before completing their sophomore year; otherwise, they'll miss the opportunity to manipulate minds effectively during their junior and senior years...and beyond. Because it predates the hollow pretext of "political correctness" and such laughable conceits as "unity through diversity," THE PRINCE explains what true power is, how to achieve it, how to wrest it from others and wield it effectively, and how to gain more of it at the expense of stupid people who haven't read Machiavelli. The author presumes "the why" is simple: having power beats the alternative.
26 out of 33 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 7, 2009
I am a student that read this book, The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. I believe that this book is great for people that want to be a leader sometime in life or history buffs that want to learn more about leadership. I would not reccomend this to people that either just want a book to read to pass time or people that are not interested in the subject. I personally thought this book was good because I enjoy historical texts. Last year in my regular world history class, we read an excerpt from this book (or at least a form of this book) and I found it very interesting how Machiavelli included things such as poetic devices to incorporate with things like leadership. In case anyone doesn't know, this book was written during the Renaissance time period.
Back to a point of mine made earlier, I wouldn't reccomend this to some people just because people like to complain about the length of books and that the book was boring. That would be the case with this book. I thought it was good, but honestly I was pretty bored with it after periods of reading. But we have to remember that historical texts like this were written back when times were peaceful to where now we have books about the world ending so there is a distinct difference between the two. All in all, I liked this book but it definately wasn't one of my favorites.
13 out of 22 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 24, 2010
The Prince is a very long "how to" essay written by Machiavelli and addressed to Lorenzo de'Medici. It was designed to help Lorenzo, a prince, rule his country. The essay has also been looked at by government officials, whether they be princes or presidents or congressmen, around the world to help with the governing of their state or country. The book has many literary devices in it, but the most notable of them are: descriptive chapter titles, allusions, and the metaphors. Machiavelli titles his chapters so they describe the very thing that the chapters will entail. It's almost as if you can read just the title of the chapter and feel like you could tell someone exactly what the chapter is about. For example, the chapter title, "Of Cruelty and Mercy, and Whether It Is Better To Be Loved Than Feared, or the Contrary." Machiavelli also uses allusion to explain the point he is making in whichever chapter he is making the point in. He makes points and then supports them with someone who has done the opposite or the same as the point he is making. He does this to express the validity of his beliefs of ruling. He refers to Alexander the Great and Ceaser. Machiavelli also includes metaphors all throughout the book. For example, "Thus, whoever examines minutely the actions of this man will find him a very fierce lion and a very astute fox."I don't personally have a favorite or worst part of the book because I didn't really enjoy reading any part of the book. However there are many valid points concerning leadership in the book.
7 out of 17 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 31, 2006
The truth is I thought that this book was surprisingly not as chilling as some have made it out to be, for example, I realize that when invading befriending the weak to take down the ruler but keeping those weak powers weak is by no means a nice thing to do. But in the end I saw this book as.... optimistic maybe. One thing he said stuck with me that a great ruler(one to go down in history) is not a tyrant who increases his nations size for personal gain but for the country itself. That was on my first reading, I'll reread it and maybe with more understanding I will find it as chilling as it is made out to be.
4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 10, 2009
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli is a great overall book for people interested in the often violent means that political power is seized, kept, and lost. This book greatly portrays the leadership of leaders in the Renaissance time period and describes hereditary principalities, which are inherited by the leader. I wouldn't recommend this book to people who either aren't interesting in politics or the Renaissance time period. Also if you like reading really long books than this definitely is not one for you. Overall in my mind this was a great historical classic and I recommend it.
2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 28, 2009
Posted April 14, 2009
If you are looking for a way to torture your children, making them read this book is the best advice I can give you. This book was torture reading. The vocabulary was hard for me to understand, along with the many concepts he had on how to be a successful prince. It's not a very long book but when I read it, it seemed like it would never end. He repeats the same concept over and over in different ways, making it harder to understand. Also, the way he writes is very confusing. I do not recommend this book at all, unless you enjoy reading, history, and a challenge.
2 out of 13 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 19, 2013
Machiavelli has a bad reputation but this is because people judge him by this work alone. This is because he was not wtiting about the way things should be but the way things were/are. For another view of a differing side of his thinking read his "Discourses on Livy". The Prince is a book that should be read by everyone.
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 12, 2008
I first picked up this title because some of my friends had said that it was absolutely horrible, and I wanted to prove that I could read this. But after the fifth page, I was bored out of my mind. This book should change its title to, 'The worst book ever!!!' Reading this book is like reading a how to rule the world for dummies. Even the spark notes for this book was better. Basically this is just a horrible book and no one should torture themselves to read it. I would not let anyone read this book even if they are bored out of their minds.
1 out of 12 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 16, 2013
I found it impossible to read this. It was by far the most boring work I have ever laid eyes on. Tedious does not even begin to explain the writing. It goes on and on about nothing.
0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 16, 2013
While this e-book was wonderfully translated, it lacked a lot of information about Empress Theodora. When trying to find bountiful information about her, I implore you to not buy this e-book.
0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 23, 2013
Posted January 23, 2013
Posted September 3, 2012
This is not something I would keep in my bookshelf. I can see why people would consider this a classic, but for me this is too repetitive and not very cohesive in my opinion. Then again, this is a letter and it is written very well and it is organized into sections. Overall, it was not an exciting read for me for a high school summer assignment.
0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 14, 2012
Posted February 8, 2012
Posted January 14, 2012
Posted September 8, 2011
Posted June 17, 2011
"A Prince ought to have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else for his study, than war and its rules and discipline; for this is the sole art that belongs to him who rules, and it is of such force that it not only upholds those who are born princes, but it often enables men to rise from a private station to that rank".
The previous paragraph is just one of many eye popping statements in this little yet powerful book written about half a millennium ago. I have to be very honest when I say I had no clue what I was getting into when I picked it up. I actually did so because a good friend read it and told me she was very impressed with Machiavelli's ruthlessness. The classic philosophy of "The ends justify the means" gets perfectly displayed in this manual for tyrants.
When Machavelli refers to a "Prince" he refers to the ruler of a territory, regardless of its title or the way such a territory was obtained. When reading this book you have to do your best to set yourself in 1513, when it was written and the principles of democracy and international law were not what they are today. But still, it is an essay where sanguinariness is just a byproduct of your need to rule a territory and its people.
I was mesmerized by the specific instructions on how to dominate a principality based on the different ways you came to rule it. You cringe as you pass the pages and it touches on the best armies to have and how to make them willing to die for you, how mean you have to be in order to be respected, how to balance being loved and feared by your people and even how to keep your subjects distracted by factions and fostering enmities. It is funny when he specifically states he does not want to get to deep into the princes of the Church but still touches on the wickedness of the rulings of the Popes and their powers.
The more you get into it this book, the more you feel that Dick Cheney read it just before ordering his puppet George W. Bush to invade Iraq for no justifiable reason. As you flip the pages you see the script that tyrants like Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez have been using to subdue their people in order to keep themselves afloat.
I still wonder what was the original audience of this book was when it was originally written.
0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 23, 2011