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

No one should therefore fear that he cannot accomplish what others have accomplished, for, men are born, live, and die in quite the same way they always have.

One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.

Still, a prince should make himself feared in such a way that if he does not gain love, he at any rate avoids hatred; for fear and the absence of hatred may well go together, and will be always attained by one who abstains from interfering with the property of his citizens and subjects or with their women. And when he is obliged to take the life of any one, to do so when there is a proper justification and manifest reason for it; but above all he must abstain from taking the property of others, for men forget more easily the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony. Then also pretexts for seizing property are never wanting, and one who begins to live by rapine will always find some reason for taking the goods of others, whereas causes for taking life are rarer and more quickly destroyed.

The good deeds may bring hatred, such as business evil, so the prince who wants to keep his mandate to commit some evils ... so because if mangle party of three parties (the people, the army, the nobility) you are deemed necessary in order to maintain your position, you must follow the whims and pleases him, and good works here hurts you. And if they talked about Alexander, who was good to the extent that they praised them by saying he had not executed anyone during the fourteen years he spent in office without a fair trial for him.

The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present.

But confining myself more to the particular, I say that a prince may be seen happy to-day and ruined to-morrow without having shown any change of disposition or character. This, I believe, arises firstly from causes that have already been discussed at length, namely, that the prince who relies entirely upon fortune is lost when it changes. I believe also that he will be successful who directs his actions according to the spirit of the times, and that he whose actions do not accord with the times will not be successful. Because men are seen, in affairs that lead to the end which every man has before him, namely, glory and riches, to get there by various methods; one with caution, another with haste; one by force, another by skill; one by patience, another by its opposite; and each one succeeds in reaching the goal by a different method. One can also see of two cautious men the one attain his end, the other fail; and similarly, two men by different observances are equally successful, the one being cautious, the other impetuous; all this arises from nothing else than whether or not they conform in their methods to the spirit of the times. This follows from what I have said, that two men working differently bring about the same effect, and of two working similarly, one attains his object and the other does not.

Fear is secured by a dread of punishment.

For Time, driving all things before it, may bring with it evil as well as good.

He who causes another to become powerful ruins himself, for he brings such a power into being either by design or by force, and both of these elements are suspects to the one whom he has made powerful.

But in new Princedoms difficulties abound. And, first, if the Princedom be not wholly new, but joined on to the ancient dominions of the Prince, so as 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 afterwards by experience that they are worse off than before

Few men are brave by nature, but good order and experience make many so. Good order and discipline in many armies are to be depended upon than courage alone.

For when you are on the spot, disorders are detected in their beginnings and remedies can be readily applied; but when you are at a distance, they are not heard of until they have gathered strength and the case is past cure.

He who has not first laid his foundations may be able with great ability to lay them afterwards, but they will be laid with trouble to the architect and danger to the building.

But in Republics there is a stronger vitality, a fiercer hatred, a keener thirst for revenge. The memory of their former freedom will not let them rest; so that the safest course is either to destroy them, or to go and live in them.

For a prince should have two fears: one, internal concerning his subjects; the other, external, concerning foreign powers. From the latter he can always defend himself by his good troops and friends; and he will always have good friends if he has good troops.

For whoever believes that great advancement and new benefits make men forget old injuries is mistaken.

He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command

But in republics there is more vitality, more hatred, and more desire for revenge. The memory of former freedom simply will not leave the people in peace.

For as good habits of the people require good laws to support them, so laws, to be observed, need good habits on the part of the people.

For, although one may be very strong in armed forces, yet in entering a province one has always need of the goodwill of the natives.

He, therefore, who acquires such a State, if he mean to keep it, must see to two things; first, that the blood of the ancient line of Princes be 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 since a Prince should know how to use the beast?s nature wisely, he ought of beasts to choose both the lion and the fox; for the lion cannot guard himself from the toils, nor the fox from wolves. He must therefore be a fox to discern toils, and a lion to drive off wolves.

For as laws are necessary that good manners be preserved, so there is need of good manners that law may be maintained.

For, besides what has been said, it should be borne in mind that the temper of the multitude is fickle, and that while it is easy to persuade them of a thing, it is hard to fix them in that persuasion. Wherefore, matters should be so ordered that when men no longer believe of their own accord, they may be compelled to believe by force.

Hence it comes about that all armed Prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed Prophets have been destroyed.

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