section7 machiavelli

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  • 1. MACHIAVELLI The Prince
  • 2. ABSTRACT & UNIVERSAL / SPECIFIC & HISTORICAL Kenneth Minogue: The problem at the heart of intellectual history arises from the fact that ideas have two aspects. they are abstract and universal, and it is in virtue of this character that they allow communication to bridge such gulfs as person to person, epoch to epoch and culture to culture. But the thinking of any idea is also a specic occurrence which has a spatio-temporal location and a social context. Philosophers are interested in the abstract ideas, historians in the individuality of the utterance, and the problem of the intellectual historian is how to negotiate this extremely interesting and poorly demarcated frontier.
  • 3. WISDOM All choices should be considered dubious, because it is in the nature of things that you can never escape one setback without running into another. Wisdom consists of knowing how to recognise the respective qualities of the setbacks and choosing the lesser evil. (86)
  • 4. THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER ...I nd it more tting to seek the truth of the matter rather than imaginary conceptions. Many have imagined republics and principalities that have never been seen or heard of, because how one lives and how one ought to live are so far apart that he who spurns what is actually done for what ought to be done will achieve ruin rather than his own preservation. ... it is necessary for a prince who wishes to maintain his position to learn how to be able not to be good, and to use or not use this ability according to circumstances. (59)
  • 5. ROLE MODELS As for the exercise of the mind, a prince must read histories and study the actions of great men so he can see how they conducted themselves in war and examine the reasons for their victories and defeats, in order to imitate the former and avoid the latter. Above all, the prince must follow the example of some great man of the past, who in turn followed the example of another great man who had been praised and honoured before him... (58)
  • 6. CESARE BORGIA At the rst opportunity, he [Cesare Borgia] had de Lorqua cut in two on the main square in Cesena, with a piece of wood and a bloody knife at his side. The brutality of this spectacle left the people both stunned and pleased. (29) Borgia was exemplary in both his severity and his kindness. (31) Cesare Borgia was considered cruel, yet his cruelty brought order to the Romagna, uniting it and making it peaceful and loyal. (64)
  • 7. ON FORCE ...all armed prophets were successful, while unarmed prophets came to ruin. ... a populace is always erratic. ... Therefore, matters must be arranged in such a way that when the populace no longer believes, a prince can compel them to believe by force. (24)
  • 8. STRATEGIC CRUELTY Cruelty can be called well used (if it is even permitted to use the word well in connection with evil) if it is executed at a single stroke out of the necessity to secure ones power, and is then not continued but converted into the greatest possible benet for ones subjects. Badly used cruelty is cruelty that, even if initially limited, increases with time rather than subsiding. (36) A prince can conclude from this that when he conquers a state, he must weight all the acts of cruelty that are necessary, and execute them all at a single stroke so they will not have to be repeated every day... while benets must be dispensed little by little, so that they will be savoured all the more. Primarily, a prince must live with his subjects in such a way that no incident, either good or bad, should make him change his course, because when bad times cause him to employ more stringent methods, it will be too late, nor will the good he does benet him, because it will be judged to have been forced. (36)
  • 9. THE LION & THE FOX Since a prince must know how to use the nature of the beast to his advantage, he must emulate both the fox and the lion, because a lion cannot defy a snare, while a fox cannot defy a pack of wolves. ...as men are wicked and not prepared to keep their word to you, you have no need to keep your word to them. ... There are countless examples from our times of the many peace treaties and promises that have been rendered null and void through the ckleness of princes.(69)
  • 10. PR TACTICS At times he must inspire his people with the hope that the evil will be shortlived; at other times he must instil in them a fear of the enemys cruelty and, when necessary, cleverly shield himself from those individuals among his subjects who might pose a threat. (42) He must do his utmost so that his actions will be perceived as imbued with greatness, courage, dignity, and power. (71) Princes must delegate difcult tasks to others and keep popular ones for themselves. (74)
  • 11. THE COMMON PEOPLE But one must know how to conceal this quality and be a great simulator and dissimulator, for men are so simple, and so prone to being won over by the necessity of the moment, that a deceiver will always nd someone willing to be deceived. (69) ...the common people will be convinced by appearances and by the end result. And the world is made up of common people, among whom the few dissenters who can see beyond appearances do not count when the majority can point to the princes success. (70)
  • 12. MEMORY & GOVERNANCE On the frequent rebellions against the Romans in Spain, France, and Greece: While the memory of those principalities lasted, the Romans were always tenuous in their possession. But ultimately, with the power and continuum of the empire, the memory died out and they became secure possessions. (19) 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. In this case the safest course is for the prince either to destroy them or to go and live there himself. (21) For whoever believes that great advancement and new benets make men forget old injuries is mistaken. (32)
  • 13. ON ADAPTING TO FORTUNE Nevertheless, Fortune is the arbiter of half our actions, but she does leave us the other half, or almost the other half, in order that our free will may prevail. (94) ...he who conforms his course of action to the quality of the times will fare well, and conversely he whose course of action clashes with the times will fare badly. (95)
  • 14. ARMIES & LAWS The primary foundation of all statesnew, old, or mixedis good laws and a good army. And as there cannot be good laws where there is not a good army, and where there is a good army there have to be good laws, I will omit any discussion of laws and speak only of armies. (47) No principality is safe without its own army. (55)
  • 15. THE ART OF WAR A prince must therefore have no other thought or objective, nor dedicate himself to any other art, but that of war with its rules and discipline, because this is the only art suitable for a man who commands. (56)
  • 16. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS It is also important when a prince has conquered a foreign state that he become the protector of the surrounding weaker powers, and do all he can to weaken the stronger ones. (12)
  • 17. TWO FEARS But a prince must have two fears: one internal, based on his subjects; the other external, based on foreign powers. (72)
  • 18. THE CYCLE OF HISTORY This arises not so much from the weakness to which our present religion has brought the world ...