Niccolò Machiavelli, formally Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

Niccolò
Machiavelli, formally Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli
1469
1527

Italian Florentine Statesman, Political Philosopher, Historian, Humanist and Writer

Author Quotes

The question is, then, do we try to make things easy on ourselves or do we try to make things easy on our customers, whoever they may be?

Therefore any cruelty has to be executed at once, so that the less it is tasted, the less it offends; while benefits must be dispensed little by little, so that they will be savored all the more.

To govern more securely some Princes have disarmed their subjects...but by disarming, you at once give offence, since you show your subjects that you distrust them, either by doubting their courage, or as doubting their fidelity, each of which imputations begets hatred against you.

When Scipio became consul and was keen on getting the province of Africa, promising that Carthage should be completely destroyed, and the senate would not agree to this because Fabius Maximus was against it, he threatened to appeal to the people, for he knew full well how pleasing such projects are to the populace.

The reason is that nature has so created men that they are able to desire everything but are not able to attain everything: so that the desire being always greater than the acquisition, there results discontent with the possession and little satisfaction to themselves from it. From this arises the changes in their fortunes; for as men desire, some to have more, some in fear of losing their acquisition, there ensues enmity and war, from which results the ruin of that province and the elevation of another.

Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them. And I shall dare to say this also, that to have them and always to observe them is injurious, and that to appear to have them is useful; to appear merciful, faithful, humane, religious, upright, and to be so, but with a mind so framed that should you require not to be so, you may be able and know how to change to the opposite.

To understand the nature of the people one must be a prince, and to understand the nature of the prince, one must be of the people.

When they depend upon their own resources and can employ force, they seldom fail. Hence it comes that all armed Prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed Prophets have been destroyed.

The reply is, that one ought to be both feared and loved, but as it is difficult for the two to go together, it is much safer to be feared than loved, if one of the two has to be wanting. For it may be said of men in general that they are ungrateful, voluble, dissemblers, anxious to avoid danger, and covetous of gain as long as you benefit them, they are entirely yours; they offer you their blood, their goods, their life, and their children, as I have before said, when the necessity is remote; but when it approaches, they revolt.

Therefore the best fortress is to be found in the love of the people, for although you may have fortresses they will not save you if you are hated by the people.

Upon this, one has to remark that 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.

When you see a Minister thinking more of himself than of you, and in all his actions seeking his own ends, that man can never be a good Minister or one that you can trust. For he who has the charge of the State committed to him, ought not to think of himself, but only of his Prince, and should never bring to the notice of the latter what does not directly concern him.

The Romans never allowed a trouble spot to remain simply to avoid going to war over it, because they knew that wars don't just go away, they are only postponed to someone else's advantage.

Therefore, a prudent ruler ought not to keep faith when by so doing it would be against his interest, and when the reasons which made him bind himself no longer exist. If men were all good, this precept would not be a good one; but as they are bad, and would not observe their faith with you, so you are not bound to keep faith with them.

Victory erase the effects of a more business failure, while pre-empt defeat more structured plans.

When you see to think more about their own interests server in yours, and inwardly seeking their own benefits in all things, that man will never be a good servant, and never able to trust him. '

The Romans recognized potential difficulties in advance and always remedied them in time. They never let problems develop just so they could escape a war, for they knew that such wars cannot be avoided, only postponed to the advantage of others.

Therefore, in order not to have to rob his subjects, to be able to defend himself, not to become poor and contemptible, and not to be forced to become rapacious, a prince must consider it of little importance if he incurs the reputation of being a miser, for this is one of the vices that permits him to rule.

War cannot be avoided; it can only be postponed to the other's advantage.

Whence we may draw the general axiom, which never or rarely errs, that he who is the cause of another?s greatness is himself undone, since he must work either by address or force, each of which excites distrust in the person raised to power.

The Swiss are well armed and very free.

Therefore, it is necessary to be a fox to discover the snares and a lion to terrify the wolves

War does not prevent but is postponed in favor of another.

Who creates the power of others to ruin, because such power comes from the cunning or force, and both are suspect whom became powerful.

The wise man does at once what the fool does finally.

Author Picture
First Name
Niccolò
Last Name
Machiavelli, formally Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli
Birth Date
1469
Death Date
1527
Bio

Italian Florentine Statesman, Political Philosopher, Historian, Humanist and Writer