Machiavelli's The Prince.pdf - Chapter 1 How Princes should...

This preview shows page 1 - 2 out of 10 pages.

Chapter 1 - How Princes should rule and what makes them successful Machiavelli starts by providing a categorization of governments that have existed in history He claims there are only two sorts of government: republics and principalities According to Machiavelli, the defining characteristic of a principality is heredity—that is, rulership is passed down through a family. Next, Machiavelli introduces subcategorization of principalities They can be old, meaning the ruling family has been in power for a long time or they can be new, meaning the ruling family takes territory to start its own domain or to add to its existing domain Concerning new principalities, Machiavelli introduces two further sub-categorizations These have to do with how the new principalities were ruled in the past, and how the prince secured the new domains Machiavelli further divides new principalities into those that were previously ruled by a prince and those that were previously republics There are a number of different ways to secure a new domain, according to Machiavelli, including by military force, by luck, by skill, or by some combination thereof. Chapter 2 - discusses principalities Machiavelli discusses principalities that have long been under the rule of the family of a prince. In such a situation, the job of ruling is easier for the prince By maintaining the status quo, and adjusting when the situation demands it, the prince satisfies the people Even if the prince is deposed, he will have a good chance to retake his domain as long as he lives When a new prince begins to have difficulties keeping his people satisfied, they will want the old prince back At the very least, the people will not hinder the old prince if he tries to retake his domain They may even agitate for his return. Hereditary prince is more loved Chapter 3 - Machiavelli discusses the difficulties encountered in ruling over newly acquired domains A fundamental problem in acquiring a new domain is the danger of earning the hatred of the people in new territories Machiavelli argues that there is no way to avoid causing harm to new subjects At the very least, the prince will upset habitual ways of life More likely, he will have to take the lives or property of some of the people and threaten to do the same to others New territories (which Machiavelli assumes have been taken by military force) must be occupied by foreign troops. The people will tolerate these harms only if they believe their lives will be substantially better under the rule of the new prince than under the previous government Should this prove not to be the case, the people will not aid their new prince should the territory be threatened They may even work against the new prince—especially if those threatening his domain belong to the government that existed before the new prince.

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture