The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

The Prince author by Niccolo Machiavelli. As a young Florentine envoy to France and the Italian principalities courts, Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) observed firsthand the lives of people strongly united under one powerful ruler. His fascination with that political rarity and his intense desire to see the Medici family assume a similar role in Italy provided the foundation for his “primer for princes.” In this classic guide to acquiring and maintaining political power, Machiavelli used a rational approach to advise prospective rulers, develop logical arguments and alternatives for several potential problems, and treat conquered peoples.

Refreshing in its directness, yet often disturbing in its cold practicality, The Prince sets down a frighteningly pragmatic formula for political fortune. Starkly relevant to the political upheavals of the 20th century, this calculating prescription for power remains a timely and startling lesson in the practice of autocratic rule.



I. Of the Various Kinds of Princedom, and of how They Are Acquired
II. Of Hereditary Princedoms
III. Of Mixed Princedoms
IV. Why the Kingdom of Darius, Conquered by Alexander, Did Not, on Alexander’s Death, Rebel against His
V . How Cities or Provinces Which before Their Acquisition Have lived under Their Own I was Are to Be Governed
VI. Of New Princedoms Which a Prince Acquires with His Own Arms and by Merit
VII. Of New Princedoms Acquired by the Aid of Others and by Good Fortune
VIII. Of Those Who by Their Crimes Come to Be Princes
IX. Of the Civil Princedom
X. How the Strength of All Princedoms Should Be Measured
XI. Of Ecclesiastical Princedoms
XII. How Many Different Kinds of Soldiers There Are, and of Mercenaries
XIII. Of Auxiliary, Mixed, and National Arms
XIV. Of the Duty of a Prince in Respect of Military Affairs
XV. Of the Qualities in Respect of Which Men, and Most of All Princes, Are Praised or Blamed
XVI. Of Liberality and Miserliness
XVII. Of Cruelty and Clemency, and Whether It Is Better to Be Loved or Feared
XVIII. How Princes Should Keep Faith
XIX. That a Prince Should Seek to Escape Contempt and Hatred
XX. Whether Fortresses and Certain Other Expedients to which prince often have a resource Are profitable or harmful
XXI. How a Prince Should Bear Himself To Acquire Reputation
XXII. Of the Secretaries of Princes.
XXIII That Flatterers Should Be Shunned
XIV. Why the Princes of Italy Have Lost Their States
XXV. What Fortune Can Effect in Human Affairs and How She May Be Withstood
XXVI. An Exhortation to Liberate Italy from the Barbarians


OF THE VARIOUS KINDS OF PRINCEDOM, AND OF how THEY ARE ACQUIRED ALL THE STATES and Governments by which men are or ever have been ruled, have been and are either Republics or Princedoms. Princedoms are either hereditary, in which the sovereignty is derived through an ancient line of ancestors, or they are new New Princedoms either wholly new, as that of Milan to Francesco Sforza; or they are like limbs joined on to the hereditary possessions of the Prince who acquires them, as the Kingdom of Naples to the dominions of the King of Spain. The States thus acquired have either been used to live under a Prince or have been free, and he who acquires them does so either by his own arms or by the arms of others, and either by good fortune or by merit.


OF HEREDITARY PRINCEDOMS OF REPUBLICS I shall not now speak, having elsewhere spoken of them at length. Here I shall treat Princedoms exclusively and, filling in the outline above traced out, shall examine how such States are governed and maintained. I say, then, that hereditary States, accustomed to the family of their Prince, are maintained with far less difficulty than new States, since all that is required is that the Prince shall not depart from the usages of his ancestors, trusting for the rest to deal with events as they arise. So that if a hereditary Prince is of average address, he will always maintain himself in his Princedom, unless deprived of it by some extraordinary and irresistible force; even if so deprived will recover it, should any, even the least, mishap overtake the usurper.

We have in Italy an example of this in the Duke of Ferrara, who never could have withstood the attacks of the Venetians in 1484, nor those of Pope Julius in 1510, had not his authority in that State been consolidated by time. Since a Prince by birth has fewer occasions and less need to give offense, he ought to be better loved and naturally be popular with his subjects unless outrageous vices make him odious. Moreover, his rule’s very antiquity and continuance will efface the memories and causes that lead to innovation. For one, change always leaves a dovetail into which another will fit.


OF MIXED PRINCEDOMS BUT IN NEW Princedoms difficulties abound. And, first, if the Princedom is not wholly new, but joined on to the ancient dominions of the Prince, to form with them what may be termed a mixed Princedom, changes will come from a cause common to all new States, namely, that men, thinking to better their condition, are always ready to change masters, and in this expectation will take up arms against any ruler; wherein they deceive themselves, and find afterward by experience that they are worse off than before.

This again results naturally and necessarily from the circumstance that the Prince cannot avoid giving offense to his new subjects, either in respect of the troops he quarters on them or of some other of the numberless vexations attendant on a new acquisition. And in this way you may find that you have enemies in all those whom you have injured in seizing the Princedom, yet cannot keep the friend you have injured in seizing the Princedom, yet cannot keep the friend-ship of those who helped you to gain it; since you can neither reward them as they expect nor yet, being under obligations to them, use violent remedies against them.

For however strong you may be in respect of your army, you must have its inhabitants’ goodwill in entering a new Province. Hence, Louis XII of France, speedily gaining possession of Milan, speedily lost it. On the occasion of its first capture, Lodovico Sforza was able with his own forces only to take it from him. For the very people who had opened the gates to the French

The Prince

When they found themselves deceived in their expectations and hopes of future benefits, King could not put up with their new ruler’s insolence. True, it is that when State rebels and is again got under, it will not afterward be lost so easily. Using the rebellion as a pretext, the Prince will not scruple to secure himself by punishing the guilty, bringing the suspected to trial, and otherwise strengthening his position in the points where it was weak.

So that if to recover Milan from the French, it was enough on the first occasion that a Duke Lodovico should raise alarms on the frontiers, to wrest it from them a second time the whole world had to be ranged against them, and their armies destroyed and driven out of Italy. For the reasons above assigned, And yet, Milan was lost to the King for a second time. The general causes of its first loss have been shown.

It remains to note the causes of the second and to point out the remedies which the French King had, or which might have been used by another in like circumstances to maintain his conquest more successfully than he did. Then, I say that those States upon their acquisition are joined on to the ancient dominions of the Prince who acquires them are either of the same Province and tongue as the people of these dominions, or they are not. When they are, there is great ease in retaining them, especially when they have not been accustomed to live in freedom.

To hold them securely it is enough to have rooted out the line of the reigning Prince; because if in other respects the old condition of things be continued, and there be no discordance in their customs, men live peaceably with one another, as we see to have been the case in Brittany, Burgundy, Gascony, and Normandy, which have so long been united to France. Although there be some slight differences in their languages, their customs are similar, and they can easily get together. He, therefore, who acquires such a State, if he means to keep it, must see to two things; first, that the blood of the ancient line of Princes is destroyed; second, that no change be made in respect of laws or taxes; for in this way the newly acquired State speedily becomes incorporated with the hereditary.

But when States are acquired in a country differing in language, usages, and laws, difficulties multiply, and great good fortune,  and address,  are needed to overcome them. One of the best and most efficacious methods for dealing with such a State is for the Prince who acquires it to go and dwell there in person since this will tend to make his tenure more secure and lasting. The Turk has followed this course about Greece, who, had he not, in addition to all his other precautions for securing that Province, himself come to live in it, could… Continue please … now and Red …

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