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John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

Machiavelli




Against foreign powers, a prince can defend himself with good weapons and good friends; if he has good weapons, he will never lack for good friends.

A son could bear complacently the death of his father while the loss of his inheritance might drive him to despair

A wise ruler ought never to keep faith when by doing so it would be against his interests.

As the observance of divine institutions is the cause of the greatness of republics, so the disregard of them produces their ruin; for where the fear of God is wanting, there the country will come to ruin, unless it be sustained the fear of the prince

A prince being thus obliged to know well how to act as a beast must imitate the fox and the lion, for the lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves.

A prince ought to have two fears, one from within, on account of his subjects, the other from without, on account of external powers. From the latter he is defended by being well armed and having good allies, and if he is well armed he will have good friends, and affairs will always remain quiet within when they are quiet without, unless they should have been already disturbed by conspiracy; and even should affairs outside be disturbed, if he has carried out his preparations and has lived as I have said, as long as he does not despair, he will resist every attack.

A prince ought to have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else for his study, than war and its rules and discipline; for this is the sole art that belongs to him who rules, and it is of such force that it not only upholds those who are born princes, but it often enables men to rise from a private station to that rank. And, on the contrary, it is seen that when princes have thought more of ease than of arms they have lost their states. And the first cause of your losing it is to neglect this art; and what enables you to acquire a state is to be master of the art.

A prince must be prudent enough to know how to escape the bad reputation of those vices that would lose the state for him, and must protect himself from those that will not lose it for him, if this is possible; but if he cannot, he need not concern himself unduly if he ignores these less serious vices.

A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise.

A prince should therefore have no other aim or thought, nor take up any other thing for his study but war and it organization and discipline, for that is the only art that is necessary to one who commands.

Among other evils which being unarmed brings you, it causes you to be despised.

Anyone who studies present and ancient affairs will easily see how in all cities and all peoples there still exist, and have always existed, the same desires and passions.

Ambition is so powerful a passion in the human breast, that however high we reach we are never satisfied.

A wise man will see to it that his acts always seem voluntary and not done by compulsion, however much he may be compelled by necessity.

All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it's impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.

A man who is used to acting in one way never changes; he must come to ruin when the times, in changing, no longer are in harmony with his ways.

Appear as you may wish to be

A prudent man should always follow in the path trodden by great men and imitate those who are most excellent, so that if he does not attain to their greatness, at any rate he will get some tinge of it.

And truly it is a very natural and ordinary thing to desire to acquire, and always, when men do it who can, they will be praised or not blamed; but when they cannot, and wish to do it anyway, here lies the error and the blame.

And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.

Are fortresses, and many other things to which princes often resort advantageous or hurtful

A return to first principles in a republic is sometimes caused by the simple virtues of one man. His good example has such an influence that the good men strive to imitate him, and the wicked are ashamed to lead a life so contrary to his example.

As all those have shown who have discussed civil institutions, and as every history is full of examples, it is necessary to whoever arranges to found a Republic and establish laws in it, to presuppose that all men are bad and that they will use their malignity of mind every time they have the opportunity; and if such malignity is hidden for a time, it proceeds from the unknown reason that would not be known because the experience of the contrary had not been seen, but time, which is said to be the father of every truth, will cause it to be discovered.

Because just as good morals, if they are to be maintained, have need of the laws, so the laws, if they are to be observed, have need of good morals

Before all else, be armed.

Benefits should be conferred gradually; and in that way they will taste better.

Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage.

Every one admits how praiseworthy it is in a prince to keep faith, and to live with integrity and not with craft. Nevertheless our experience has been that those princes who have done great things have held good faith of little account, and have known how to circumvent the intellect of men by craft, and in the end have overcome those who have relied on their word.

Everyone sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are, and those few dare not oppose themselves to the opinion of the many, who have the majesty of the state to defend them.

From this arises the question whether it is better to be loved rather than feared, or feared rather than loved. It might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both: but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.

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.

For among other evils caused by being disarmed, it renders you contemptible; which is one of those disgraceful things which a prince must guard against.

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

For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearance, as though they were realities and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are

Few men are brave by nature, but good discipline and experience make many so.

From this we learn that a wise prince sees to it that never, in order to attack someone, does he become the ally of a prince more powerful than himself, except when necessity forces him, as I said above. If you win, you are the powerful kings prisoner, and wise princes avoid as much as they can being in other men’s power.

For one change always leaves a dovetail into which another will fit.

God is not willing to do everything, and thus take away our free will and that share of glory which belongs to us.

Good order and discipline in an army are more to be depended upon than ferocity.

God creates men, but they choose each other.

Hatred is gained as much by good works as by evil.

He who blinded by ambition, raises himself to a position whence he cannot mount higher, must thereafter fall with the greatest loss.

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.

He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command.

He ought to be slow to believe and to act, nor should he himself show fear, but proceed in a temperate manner with prudence and humanity, so that too much confidence may not make him incautious and too much distrust render him intolerable.

How laudable it is for a prince to keep good faith and live with integrity, and not with astuteness, everyone knows. Still the experience of our times shows those princes to have done great things who have had little regard for good faith, and have been able by astuteness to confuse men's brains, and who have ultimately overcome those who have made loyalty their foundation. You must know, then, that there are two methods of fighting, the one by law, the other by force: the first method is that of men, the second of beasts; but as the first method is often insufficient, one must have recourse to the second. It is therefore necessary to know well how to use both the beast and the man. This was covertly taught to princes by ancient writers, who relate how Achilles and many others of those princes were given to Chiron the centaur to be brought up, who kept them under his discipline; this system of having for teacher one who was half beast and half man is meant to indicate that a prince must know how to use both natures, and that the one without the other is not durable. A prince being thus obliged to know well how to act as a beast must imitate the fox and the lion, for the lion cannot protect himself from snares, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize snares, and a lion to frighten wolves. Those that wish to be only lions do not understand this. 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.

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

How we live is so different from how we ought to live that he who studies what ought to be done rather than what is done will learn the way to his downfall rather than to his preservation.

History is written by the victors.

…he who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived

 I am firmly convinced, therefore, that to set up a republic which is to last a long time, the way to set about it is to constitute it as Sparta and Venice were constituted; to place it in a strong position, and so to fortify it that no one will dream of taking it by a sudden assault; and, on the other hand, not to make it so large as to appear formidable to its neighbors. It should in this way be able to enjoy its form of government for a long time. For war is made on a commonwealth for two reasons: to subjugate it, and for fear of being subjugated by it.

I consider it a mark of great prudence in a man to abstain from threats or any contemptuous expressions, for neither of these weaken the enemy, but threats make him more cautious, and the other excites his hatred, and a desire to revenge himself

I shall always esteem it not much to live in a city where the laws do less than men, because that fatherland is desirable where possessions and friends can be securely enjoyed, not where they can be easily taken from you, and friends for few of them

I'm not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.

If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.

In truth, there never was any remarkable lawgiver amongst any people who did not resort to divine authority, as otherwise his laws would not have been accepted by the people; for there are many good laws, the importance of which is known to be the said

It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.

It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver.

It is much more secure to be feared than to be loved.

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

It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles.

It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.

If we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.

If someone puts up the argument that King Louis gave the Romagna to Pope Alexander, and the kingdom of Naples to Spain, in order to avoid a war, I would answer as I did before: that you should never let things get out of hand in order to avoid war. You don't avoid such a war, you merely postpone it, to your own disadvantage.

It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them.

I say that every prince must desire to be considered merciful and not cruel. He must, however, take care not to misuse this mercifulness. … A prince, therefore, must not mind incurring the charge of cruelty for the purpose of keeping his subjects united and confident; for, with a very few examples, he will be more merciful than those who, from excess of tenderness, allow disorders to arise, from whence spring murders and rapine; for these as a rule injure the whole community, while the executions carried out by the prince injure only one individual. And of all princes, it is impossible for a new prince to escape the name of cruel, new states being always full of dangers. … 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. 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. And the prince who has relied solely on their words, without making other preparations, is ruined, for the friendship which is gained by purchase and not through grandeur and nobility of spirit is merited but is not secured, and at times is not to be had. And men have less scruple in offending one who makes himself loved than one who makes himself feared; for love is held by a chain of obligation which, men being selfish, is broken whenever it serves their purpose; but fear is maintained by a dread of punishment which never fails.

I conclude, then, that so long as Fortune varies and men stand still, they will prosper while they suit the times, and fail when they do not. But I do feel this: that it is better to be rash than timid, for Fortune is a woman, and the man who wants to hold her down must beat and bully her. We see that she yields more often to men of this stripe than to those who come coldly toward her.

It is truly a marvelous thing to consider to what greatness Athens arrived in the space of one hundred years after she freed herself from the tyranny of Pisistratus; but, above all, it is even more marvelous to consider the greatness Rome reached when she freed herself from her kings. The reason is easy to understand, for it is the common good and not private gain that makes cities great. Yet, without a doubt, this common good is observed only in republics, for in them everything that promotes it is practiced, and however much damage it does to this or that private individual, those who benefit from the said common good are so numerous that they are able to advance in spite of the inclination of the few citizens who are oppressed by it.

I assert once again as a truth to which history as a whole bears witness that men may second their fortune, but cannot oppose it; that they may weave its warp, but cannot break it. Yet they should never give up, because there is always hope, though they know not the end and more towards it along roads which cross one another and as yet are unexplored; and since there is hope, they should not despair, no matter what fortune brings or in what travail they find themselves.

It is not titles that make men illustrious, but men who make titles illustrious.

I believe that it is possible for one to praise, without concern, any man after he is dead since every reason and supervision for adulation is lacking.

It may be observed, that provinces amid the vicissitudes to which they are subject, pass from order into confusion, and afterward recur to a state of order again; for the nature of mundane affairs not allowing them to continue in an even course, when they have arrived at their greatest perfection, they soon begin to decline. In the same manner, having been reduced by disorder, and sunk to their utmost state of depression, unable to descend lower, they, of necessity, rescind; and thus from good they gradually decline to evil, and from evil again return to good. The reason is, that valor produces peace; peace, repose; repose, disorder; disorder, ruin; so from disorder order springs; from order virtue, and from this, glory and good fortune.

If you only notice human proceedings, you may observe that all who attain great power and riches, make use of either force or fraud; and what they have acquired either by deceit or violence, in order to conceal the disgraceful methods of attainment, they endeavor to sanctify with the false title of honest gains. Those who either from imprudence or want of sagacity avoid doing so, are always overwhelmed with servitude and poverty; for faithful servants are always servants, and honest men are always poor; nor do any ever escape from servitude but the bold and faithless, or from poverty, but the rapacious and fraudulent. God and nature have thrown all human fortunes into the midst of mankind; and they are thus attainable rather by rapine than by industry, by wicked actions rather than by good. Hence it is that men feed upon each other, and those who cannot defend themselves must be worried.

It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.

It should be noted that when he seizes a state the new ruler ought to determine all the injuries that he will need to inflict. He should inflict them once and for all, and not have to renew them every day.

I'm not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.

It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles.

It is best to be both feared and loved; however, if one cannot be both it is better to be feared than loved.

It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.

It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones. 

If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared. 

I consider it a mark of great prudence in a man to abstain from threats or any contemptuous expressions, for neither of these weaken the enemy, but threats make him more cautious, and the other excites his hatred, and a desire to revenge himself.

It was the verdict of ancient writers that men afflict themselves in evil and weary themselves in the good, and that the same effects result from both of these passions. For whenever men are not obliged to fight from necessity, they fight from ambition; which is so powerful in human breasts, that it never leaves them no matter to what rank they rise. 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.

Many have imagined republics and principalities which have never been seen or known to exist in reality; for how we live is so far removed from how we ought to live, that he who abandons what is done for what ought to be done, will rather bring about

Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions

Men 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 to be tricked.

Men nearly always follow the tracks made by others and proceed in their affairs by imitation, even though they cannot entirely keep to the tracks of others or emulate the prowess of their models. So a prudent man should always follow in the footsteps of great men and imitate those who have been outstanding. If his own prowess fails to compare with theirs, at least it has an air of greatness about it. He should behave like those archers who, if they are skillful, when the target seems too distant, know the capabilities of their bow and aim a good deal higher than their objective, not in order to shoot so high but so that by aiming high they can reach the target.

Men sooner forget the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony.

Men in general judge more by the sense of sight than by the sense of touch, because everyone can see, but only a few can test by feeling. Everyone sees what you seem to be, few know what you really are, and those few do not dare take a stand against the general opinion.

Men are more apt to be mistaken in their generalizations than in their particular observations.

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.

Men rise from one ambition to another: first, they seek to secure themselves against attack, and then they attack others.

Men should be either treated generously or destroyed, because they take revenge for slight injuries - for heavy ones they cannot.

Men shrink less from offending one who inspires love than one who inspires fear.

Men sooner forget the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony.

Men are driven by two principal impulses, either by love or by fear.

Men never do good unless necessity drives them to it; but when they are free to choose and can do just as they please, confusion and disorder become rampant.

Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived.

Men never do good unless necessity drives them to it; but when they are free to choose and can do just as they please, confusion and disorder become rampant.

Many have dreamed up republics and principalities that have never in truth been known to exist; the gulf between how one should live and how one does live is so wide that a man who neglects what is actually done for what should be done learns the way to self-destruction rather than self-preservation.

My view is that it is desirable to be both loved and feared; but it is difficult to achieve both and, if one of them has to be lacking, it is much safer to be feared than loved.

Nature that framed us of four elements, warring within our breasts for regiment, doth teach us all to have aspiring minds.

Nature has so contrived that to men, though all things are objects of desire, not all things are attainable; so that desire always exceeds the power of attainment, with the result that men are ill-content with what they possess and their present state brings them little satisfaction. Hence arise the vicissitudes of their fortune.

Never was anything great achieved without danger.

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.

No proceeding is better than that which you have concealed from the enemy until the time you have executed it ( No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution.) . To know how to recognize an opportunity in war, and take it, benefits you more than anything else. Nature creates few men brave, industry and training makes many. Discipline in war counts more than fury.

Nothing is of greater importance in time of war than in knowing how to make the best use of a fair opportunity when it is offered.

No one should be astonished if in the following discussion of completely new princedoms and of the prince and of government, I bring up the noblest examples. Because, since men almost always walk in the paths beaten by others and carry on their affairs by imitating even though it is not possible to keep wholly in the paths of others or to attain the ability of those you imitate a prudent man will always choose to take paths beaten by great men and to imitate those who have been especially admirable, in order that if his ability does not reach theirs, at least it may offer some suggestion of it; and he will act like prudent archers, who, seeing that the mark they plan to hit is too far away and knowing what space can be covered by the power of their bows, take an aim much higher than their mark, not in order to reach with their arrows so great a height, but to be able, with the aid of so high an aim, to attain their purpose.

Of mankind we may say in general they are fickle, hypocritical, and greedy of gain.

One change always leaves the way open for the establishment of others.

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

Occasionally words must serve to veil the facts. But let this happen in such a way that no one become aware of it; or, if it should be noticed, excuses must be at hand to be produced immediately.

Politics have no relation to morals.

Princes and governments are far more dangerous than other elements within society.

People should either be caressed or crushed. If you do them minor damage they will get their revenge; but if you cripple them there is nothing they can do. If you need to injure someone, do it in such a way that you do not have to fear their vengeance. 

 Severities should be dealt out all at once, so that their suddenness may give less offense; benefits ought to be handed ought drop by drop, so that they may be relished the more.

States that rise quickly, just as all the other things of nature that are born and grow rapidly, cannot have roots and ramifications; the first bad weather kills them

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.

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

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.

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

Tardiness often robs us opportunity, and the dispatch of our forces.

The chief foundations of all states... are good laws and good arms. And as there cannot be good laws where there are not good arms... where there are good arms there must be good laws...

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

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.

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 fact is that a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous.

The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.

The main foundations of every state, new states as well as ancient or composite ones, are good laws and good arms - you cannot have good laws without good arms, and where there are good arms, good laws inevitably follow

The more sand has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.

The new ruler must determine all the injuries that he will need to inflict. He must inflict them once and for all.

The one who adapts his policy to the times prospers, and likewise that the one whose policy clashes with the demands of the times does not.

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

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

The wish to acquire more is admittedly a very natural and common thing; and when men succeed in this they are always praised rather than condemned. But when they lack the ability to do so and yet want to acquire more at all costs, they deserve condemnation for their mistakes.

There are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehend; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, and the third is useless.

There is no other way of guarding oneself against flattery than by letting men understand that they will not offend you by speaking the truth; but when everyone can tell you the truth, you lose their respect.

There is no surer sign of decay in a country than to see the rites of religion held in contempt.

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.

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.

The prince must consider, as has been in part said before, how to avoid those things which will make him hated or contemptible … when neither their property nor honor is touched, the majority of men live content, and he has only to contend with the ambition of a few, whom he can curb with ease in many ways.

 The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around 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, they made war with Philip and Antiochus in Greece, in order not to have to fight them in Italy... They never went by that saying which you constantly hear from the wiseacres of our day that time heals all things. They trusted rather their own character and prudence— knowing perfectly well that time contains the seeds of all things, good as well as bad.

The Romans, foreseeing troubles, dealt with them at once, and, even to avoid a war, would not let them come to a head, for they knew that war is not to be avoided, but is only put off to the advantage of others.

There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.

The chief foundations of all states, new as well as old or composite, are good laws and good arms; and as there cannot be good laws where the state is not well armed, it follows that where they are well armed they have good laws.

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.

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. It makes him hated above all things, as I have said, to be rapacious, and to be a violator of the property and women of his subjects, from both of which he must abstain. And when neither their property nor honor is touched, the majority of men live content, and he has only to contend with the ambition of a few, whom he can curb with ease in many ways. It makes him contemptible to be considered fickle, frivolous, effeminate, mean-spirited, irresolute, from all of which a prince should guard himself as from a rock; and he should endeavor to show in his actions greatness, courage, gravity, and fortitude; and in his private dealings with his subjects let him show that his judgments are irrevocable, and maintain himself in such reputation that no one can hope either to deceive him or to get round him. That prince is highly esteemed who conveys this impression of himself, and he who is highly esteemed is not easily conspired against; for, provided it is well known that he is an excellent man and revered by his people, he can only be attacked with difficulty.

That one should avoid being despised and hated

The best fortress which a prince can possess is the affection of his people.

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 first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.

There is no other way of guarding oneself against flattery than by letting men understand that they will not offend you by speaking the truth; but when everyone can tell you the truth, you lose their respect.

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

The fact is that a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous.

There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.

The main foundations of every state, new states as well as ancient or composite ones, are good laws and good arms you cannot have good laws without good arms, and where there are good arms, good laws inevitably follow.

There is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you.

The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves.

There is no avoiding war, it can only be postponed to the advantage of your

The end justifies the means.

The vulgar crowd always is taken by appearances, and the world consists chiefly of the vulgar.

There is nothing more important than appearing to be religious.

The one who adapts his policy to the times prospers, and likewise that the one whose policy clashes with the demands of the times does not.

The people resemble a wild beast, which, naturally fierce and accustomed to live in the woods, has been brought up, as it were, in a prison and in servitude, and having by accident got its liberty, not being accustomed to search for its food, and not knowing where to conceal itself, easily becomes the prey of the first who seeks to incarcerate it again.

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.

The demands of a free populace, too, are very seldom harmful to liberty, for they are due either to the populace being oppressed or to the suspicious that it is going to be oppressed... and, should these impressions be false, a remedy is provided in the public platform on which some man of standing can get up, appeal to the crowd, and show that it is mistaken. And though, as Tully remarks, the populace may be ignorant, it is capable of grasping the truth and readily yields when a man, worthy of confidence, lays the truth before it.

The wish to acquire more is admittedly a very natural and common thing; and when men succeed in this they are always praised rather than condemned. But when they lack the ability to do so and yet want to acquire more at all costs, they deserve condemnation for their mistakes.

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

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.

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

War is just when it is necessary; arms are permissible when there is no hope except in arms.

War should be the only study of a prince. He should consider peace only as a breathing- time, which gives him leisure to contrive, and furnishes as ability to execute, military plans.

We cannot attribute to fortune or virtue that which is achieved without either.

When neither their property nor their honor is touched, the majority of men live content.

When you disarm the people, you commence to offend them and show that you distrust them either through cowardice or lack of confidence, and both of these opinions generate hatred...

Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great.

Whoever conquers a free town and does not demolish it commits a great error and may expect to be ruined himself.

Whoever desires to found a state and give it laws, must start with assuming that all men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature, whenever they may find occasion for it.

Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.

Whoever desires to found a state and give it laws, must start with assuming that all men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature, whenever they may find occasion for it.

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.

When evening comes, I return home and go into my study. On the threshold I strip off my muddy, sweaty, workday clothes, and put on the robes of court and palace, and in this graver dress I enter the antique courts of the ancients and am welcomed by them, and there I taste the food that alone is mine, and for which I was born. And there I make bold to speak to them and ask the motives of their actions, and they, in their humanity, reply to me. And for the space of four hours I forget the world, remember no vexation, fear poverty no more, tremble no more at death: I pass indeed into their world.

Whenever men are not obliged to fight from necessity, they fight from ambition; which is so powerful in human breasts, that it never leaves them no matter to what rank they rise.

You must know there are two ways of contesting, the one by the law, the other by force; the first method is proper to men, the second to beasts; but because the first is frequently not sufficient, it is necessary to have recourse to the second.

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