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

Men intrinsically do not trust new things that they have not experienced themselves.

Never do any enemy a small injury for they are like a snake which is half beaten and it will strike back the first chance it gets.

One never finds anything perfectly pure and... exempt from danger.

Since it is difficult to join them together, it is safer to be feared than to be loved when one of the two must be lacking.

The distinction between children and adults, while probably useful for some purposes, is at bottom a specious one, I feel. There are only individual egos, crazy for love.

The prince must consider, as has been in part said before, how to avoid those things which will make him hated or contemptible; and as often as he shall have succeeded he will have fulfilled his part, and he need not fear any danger in other reproaches.

In general, men judge more by the eyes than by intelligence, as everyone can see, but few understand what they see.

It is necessary for a prince wishing to hold his own to know how to do wrong, and to make use of it or not according to necessity.

Machiavelli fought for unity, not morality.

Men must either be caressed or else destroyed.

Nevertheless, he must be cautious in believing and acting, and must not inspire fear of his own accord, and must proceed in a temperate manner with prudence and humanity, so that too much confidence does not render him incautious, and too much diffidence does not render him intolerant. From this arises the question whether it is better to be loved more than feared, or feared more than loved.

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.

Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved

The end of the republic is to enervate and to weaken all other bodies so as to increase its own body.

The Prince who establishes himself in a Province whose laws and language differ from those of his own people, ought also to make himself the head and protector of his feebler neighbors, and endeavor to weaken the stronger, and must see that by no accident shall any other stranger as powerful as himself find an entrance there. For it will always happen that some such person will be called in by those of the Province who are discontented either through ambition or fear; as we see of old the Romans brought into Greece by the Aetolians, and in every other country that they entered, invited there by its inhabitants. And the usual course of things is that so soon as a formidable stranger enters a Province, all the weaker powers side with him, moved thereto by the ill-will they bear towards him who has hitherto kept them in subjection. So that in respect of these lesser powers, no trouble is needed to gain them over, for at once, together, and of their own accord, they throw in their lot with the government of the stranger. The new Prince, therefore, has only to see that they do not increase too much in strength, and with his own forces, aided by their good will, can easily subdue any who are powerful, so as to remain supreme in the Province. He who does not manage this matter well, will soon lose whatever he has gained, and while he retains it will find in it endless troubles and annoyances.

In judging policies we should consider the results that have been achieved through them rather than the means by which they have been executed.

It is necessary for him who lays out a state and arranges laws for it to presuppose that all men are evil and that they are always going to act according to the wickedness of their spirits whenever they have free scope.

Man are so simple and yield so readily to the desires of the moment that he who will trick will always find another who will suffer himself to be tricked.

Men ought either to be indulged or utterly destroyed, for if you merely offend them they take vengeance, but if you injure them greatly they are unable to retaliate, so that the injury done to a man ought to be such that vengeance cannot be feared.

Nevertheless, that our freewill may not be altogether extinguished, I think it may be true that fortune is he ruler of half our actions, but that she allows the other half or a little less to be governed by us.

One ought perhaps not to count Moses, as he was a mere executor of the will of God; he must nevertheless be admired, if only for the grace that made him worthy of speaking to God.

So in all human affairs one notices, if one examines them closely, that it is impossible to remove one inconvenience without another emerging.

The first opinion which one forms of a prince, and of his understanding, is by observing the men he has around him; and when they are capable and faithful he may always be considered wise, because he has known how to recognize the capable and to keep them faithful. But when they are otherwise one cannot form a good opinion of him, for the prime error which he made was in choosing them.

The prince who relies upon their words, without having otherwise provided for his security, is ruined; for friendships that are won by awards, and not by greatness and nobility of soul, although deserved, yet are not real, and cannot be depended upon in time of adversity.

In peace one is despoiled by the mercenaries, in war by one's enemies.

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