discourses - Machiavelli - DISCOURSES CHAPTER XVI A PEOPLE...

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Machiavelli - DISCOURSES CHAPTER XVI A PEOPLE ACCUSTOMED TO LIVING UNDER A PRINCE, IF BY SOME ACCIDENT BECOMES FREE, MAINTAINS ITS LIBERTY WITH DIFFICULTY Many examples derived from the records of ancient history will show how difficult it is for a people used to living under a Prince to preserve their liberty after they had by some accident acquired it, as Rome acquired it after driving out the Tarquins. And such difficulty is reasonable; because that people is nothing else other than a brute animal, which ((although by nature ferocious and wild)) has always been brought up in prison and servitude, (and) which later being left by chance free in a field, (and) not being accustomed to (obtain) food or not knowing where to find shelter for refuge, becomes prey to the first one who seeks to enchain it again. This same thing happens to a people, who being accustomed to living under governments of others, not knowing to reason either on public defense or offense, not knowing the Princes or being known by them, return readily under a yoke, which often times is more heavy than that which a short time before had been taken from their necks: and they find themselves in this difficulty, even though the people is not wholly corrupt; for a people where corruption has not entirely taken over, cannot but live at all free even for a very brief time, as will be discussed below: and therefore our discussions concern those people where corruption has not expanded greatly, and where there is more of the good than of the bad (spoiled). To the above should be added another difficulty, which is that the state which becomes free makes enemy partisans, and not friendly partisans. All those men become its enemy partisans who avail themselves of the tyrannical state, feeding on the riches of the Prince, (and) who when they are deprived of the faculty of thus availing themselves, cannot live content, and some are forced to attempt to reestablish the tyrancy so as to recover their authority. It does not ((as I have said)) acquire friendly partisans, for a free society bestows honors and rewards through the medium of honest and predetermined rules, and outside of which does not honor or reward anyone; and when one receives those honors and rewards as appears to them he merits, he does not consider he has any obligation to repay them: in addition to this that common usefulness which free society brings with it, is not known by anyone ((while he yet possesses it)), which is to be able to enjoy his own possessions freely without any suspicion, not being apprehensive of the honor of his womenfolk, or that of his children, and not to fear offer himself; for no one will ever confess himself to have an obligation to one who only does not offend him. Thus ((as was said above)) a free state that has newly sprung up comes to
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course PS 207 taught by Professor Watry during the Winter '08 term at N. Michigan.

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discourses - Machiavelli - DISCOURSES CHAPTER XVI A PEOPLE...

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