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Need to seize a country? Have enemies you must destroy? In this handbook for despots and tyrants, the Renaissance statesman Machiavelli sets forth how to accomplish this and more, while avoiding the awkwardness of becoming generally hated and despised.
"Men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge."
For nearly 500 years, Machiavelli's observations on Realpolitik have shocked and appalled the timid and romantic, and for many his name was equivalent to the devil's own. Yet, The Prince was the first attempt to write of the world of politics as it is, rather than sanctimoniously of how it should be, and thus The Prince remains as honest and relevant today as when Machiavelli first put quill to parchment, and warned the junior statesman to know how to do wrong, and to make use of it or not according to necessity.
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.
Seventeenth Chapter: Concerning Cruelty and Clemency, and Whether It Is Better to Be Loved Than Feared
...Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with. Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed, they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life, and children, as is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you. And that prince, who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments, and not by greatness or by nobility of mind, may indeed be earned, but they are not secured, and in time of need cannot be relied upon; and men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails....
Twenty-First Chapter: How a Prince Should Conduct Himself So as to Gain Renown
...A prince is also respected when he is either a true friend or a downright enemy, that is to say, when, without any reservation, he declares himself in favour of one party against the other; which course will always be more advantageous than standing neutral; because if two of your powerful neighbours come to blows, they are of such a character that, if one of them conquers, you have either to fear him or not. In either case it will always be more advantageous for you to declare yourself and to make war strenously; because, in the first case, if you do not declare yourself, you will invariably fall a prey to the conqueror, to the pleasure and satisfaction of his who has been conquered, and you will have no reasons to offer, nor anything to protect or to shelter you. Because he who conquers does not want doubtful friends who will not aid him in the time of trial; and he who loses will not harbour you because you did not willingly, sword in hand, court his fate....
Translation by: W.K. Marriott
|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|
Posted February 7, 2012
No text was provided for this review.
Posted November 10, 2013
No text was provided for this review.