Machiavelli the prince. The Prince: Themes 2022-10-25
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Niccolò Machiavelli was an Italian political philosopher and statesman who is best known for his influential treatise "The Prince," written in 1513. The work was dedicated to Lorenzo de' Medici, the de facto ruler of Florence, and was intended as a guide for rulers on how to maintain their power.
In "The Prince," Machiavelli outlines the principles that he believed were necessary for rulers to succeed in their endeavors. He argued that rulers should prioritize their own interests and the interests of the state above all else, even if this means resorting to unethical or immoral actions. He believed that the end justifies the means, and that rulers should do whatever it takes to maintain their power, including using force, deception, and manipulation.
One of the key themes of "The Prince" is the importance of realism in politics. Machiavelli argued that rulers should be guided by a realistic assessment of the political landscape, rather than by moral principles or ideals. He believed that rulers who were too idealistic or too rigid in their beliefs would ultimately fail, as they would be unable to adapt to changing circumstances.
Another key theme of "The Prince" is the idea of virtù, which can be translated as "virtue" or "excellence." According to Machiavelli, virtù is the quality that allows rulers to be successful and to achieve their goals. He argued that virtù is not the same as moral virtue, but rather it is a combination of intelligence, skill, courage, and determination. Rulers who possess virtù are able to overcome challenges and emerge victorious, while those who lack it are doomed to failure.
Machiavelli's ideas have had a profound influence on political thought and have been widely debated and discussed over the centuries. While some have praised "The Prince" for its realism and practicality, others have criticized it for its amoral approach to politics and for its emphasis on the use of force and deception. Regardless of one's opinion of Machiavelli's ideas, however, it is clear that "The Prince" has had a lasting impact on the way we think about politics and power.
The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli
This online library project is still under development and we are adding new e-books often. Florence had a difficult part to play during these events, complicated as they were by the feud which broke out between the pope and the French, because friendship with France had dictated the entire policy of the Republic. Moreover he must encourage his citizens to follow their callings quietly, whether in commerce, or agriculture, or any other trade that men follow, so that this one shall not refrain from improving his possessions through fear that they may be taken from him, and that one from starting a trade for fear of taxes; but he should offer rewards to whoever does these things, and to whoever seeks in any way to improve his city or state. It is the latter who can and should be honoured. OF CRUELTY AND CLEMENCY, AND WHETHER IT IS BETTER TO BE LOVED OR FEARED Proceeding to the other qualities before named, I say that every prince must desire to be considered merciful and not cruel.
After the dinner and the entertainments usual at such feasts, Oliverotto artfully introduced certain important matters of discussion, speaking of the greatness of Pope Alexander, and of his son Cesare, and of their enterprises. Without that opportunity their powers of mind would have been extinguished, and without those powers the opportunity would have come in vain. Therefore a wise prince will seek means by which his subjects will always and in every possible condition of things have need of his government, and then they will always be faithful to him. These are when one becomes prince by some nefarious or villainous means, or when a private citizen becomes the prince of his country through the favour of his fellow-citizens. But when the prince is with his army and has a large number of soldiers under his control, then it is extremely necessary that he should not mind being thought cruel; for without, this reputation he could not keep an army united, or disposed to any duty. Among the noteworthy actions of Hannibal is numbered this, that although he had an enormous army, composed of men of all nations and fighting in foreign countries, there never arose any dissension either among them or against the prince, either in good fortune or in bad. Well, this book is not particularly abstract or theoretical.
Sforza had always the Bracceschi against him, they being constantly at enmity. Therefore, he who considers both of these states will recognize great difficulties in seizing the state of the Turk, but, once it is conquered, great ease in holding it. The Prince is a political treatise describing the less-than-honorable but all-too-realistic methods politicians still use to secure their power. University of Chicago Press. The cities of Germany are extremely liberal, have little surrounding country, and obey the emperor when they choose, and they do not fear him or any other potentate that they have about them.
Monarchies are either hereditary ones, in which the rulers have been for many years of the same family, or else they are those of recent foundation. And to throw further light on this part, I would say, that the nobles are to be considered in two different manners; that is, they are either to be ruled so as to make them entirely depend on your fortunes, or else not. For the first thing he weakened the Orsini and Colonnesi parties in Rome, by gaining to himself all their adherents who were gentlemen, making them his gentlemen, giving them good pay, and, according to their rank, honouring them with office and command in such a way that in a few months all attachment to the factions was destroyed and turned entirely to the duke. In Rome, although but half alive, he remained secure; and whilst the Baglioni, the Vitelli, and the Orsini might come to Rome, they could not effect anything against him. The barbarity of this spectacle caused the people to be at once satisfied and dismayed. For of the dispossessed rulers he killed as many as he could lay hands on, and very few escaped; he had gained to his party the Roman nobles; and he had a great share in the College.
61 Important The Prince Quotes: Machiavelli On Power And Politics
Still these mistakes might, if he had lived, not have injured him, had he not made the sixth, that of taking the state from the Venetians; for, if he had not strengthened the Church and brought the Spaniards into Italy, it would have been right and necessary to humble them; having once taken those measures, he ought never to have consented to their ruin; because, had the Venetians been strong, it would have kept the others from making attempts on Lombardy, partly because the Venetians would not have consented to any measures by which they did not get it for themselves, and partly because the others would not have wanted to take it from France to give it to Venice, and would not have had the courage to attack both. Niccolò Machiavelli: History, Power, and Virtue. They wished to hold Greece as the Spartans held it, making it free and permitting its laws, and did not succeed. It was necessary that Cyrus should find the Persians discontented with the government of the Medes, and the Medes soft and effeminate through their long peace. It is very true that, after acquiring rebellious provinces a second time, they are not so lightly lost afterwards, because the prince, with little reluctance, takes the opportunity of the rebellion to punish the delinquents, to clear out the suspects, and to strengthen himself in the weakest places. Francesco Bussone, born at Carmagnola about 1390, executed at Venice, 5th May 1432. The characters also exploit one another's desires in order to achieve their personal goals.
Nabis, prince of the Spartans, sustained a siege by the whole of Greece and a victorious Roman army, and defended against them his country and maintained his own position. Machiavelli always refused to write either of men or of governments otherwise than as he found them, and he writes with such skill and insight that his work is of abiding value. Little is known about Borgia, except that he was a Renaissance politician who fought, connived, and murdered his way into power in Italy; in other words, he was ruthless but effective. These principalities are liable to danger when they are passing from the civil to the absolute order of government, for such princes either rule personally or through magistrates. And in fact is has been seen that the greatness of the Church and of Spain in Italy has been caused by France, and her ruin may be attributed to them. In 1513, after being expelled from political service with the takeover of Florence by the The Prince. Count of Pitigliano; Nicolo Orsini, born 1442, died 1510.
How to Become an Effective Leader According to Niccolò Machiavelli
When he took the Romagna, it had previously been governed by weak rulers, who had rather despoiled their subjects than governed them, and given them more cause for disunion than for union, so that the province was a prey to robbery, assaults, and every kind of disorder. The term '' Machiavellian'' refers to a person who uses deception and manipulation to get his way. University of Chicago Press. According to Dietz, the trap never succeeded because Lorenzo — "a suspicious prince" — apparently never read the work of the "former republican. He fought in the English wars in France, and was knighted by Edward III; afterwards he collected a body of troops and went into Italy. Therefore such men as these have great difficulty in making their way, and all their dangers are met on the road and must be overcome by their own abilities; but when once they have overcome them and have begun to be held in veneration, and have suppressed those who envied them, they remain powerful and secure, honoured and happy. In addition, if you take over a kingdom, be sure to kill off the family of the previous ruler, so they don't overthrow you.
And should any one reply that there have been many princes, who have done great things with their armies, who have been thought extremely liberal, I would answer by saying that the prince may either spend his own wealth and that of his subjects or the wealth of others. Benefits should be granted little by little, so that they may be better enjoyed. But in maintaining armed men there in place of colonies one spends much more, having to consume on the garrison all the income from the state, so that the acquisition turns into a loss, and many more are exasperated, because the whole state is injured; through the shifting of the garrison up and down all become acquainted with hardship, and all become hostile, and they are enemies who, whilst beaten on their own ground, are yet able to do hurt. Translated by Daniel Donno Bantam Classiced. From this sprung the rebellion at Urbino and the tumults in the Romagna, with endless dangers to the duke, all of which he overcame with the help of the French. Throughout his lifetime, Italian politics was contentious. These opportunities, therefore, made those men fortunate, and their high ability enabled them to recognize the opportunity whereby their country was ennobled and made famous.
And although I may consider this work unworthy of your countenance, nevertheless I trust much to your benignity that it may be acceptable, seeing that it is not possible for me to make a better gift than to offer you the opportunity of understanding in the shortest time all that I have learnt in so many years, and with so many troubles and dangers; which work I have not embellished with swelling or magnificent words, nor stuffed with rounded periods, nor with any extrinsic allurements or adornments whatever, with which so many are accustomed to embellish their works; for I have wished either that no honour should be given it, or else that the truth of the matter and the weightiness of the theme shall make it acceptable. Those that wish to be only lions do not understand this. In Mandragola, Machiavelli dramatically portrays these ideas by making the protagonist boast virtù and his leading lady encompass fortuna. THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF MILITIA AND MERCENARY SOLDIERS Having now discussed fully the qualities of these principalities of which I proposed to treat, and partially considered the causes of their prosperity or failure, and having also showed the methods by which many have sought to obtain such states, it now remains for me to treat generally of the methods of attack and defence that can be used in each of them. Those who by valorous ways become princes, like these men, acquire a principality with difficulty, but they keep it with ease.