The Prince

if a prince is not strong enough to conquer other territories, what should he do

The Prince, chapter 10 page 11-12

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Chapter X is entitled “How to Measure the Strength of Any Prince’s State.” Here Machiavelli adopts a decidedly militaristic tone. Princes, he writes, are better off when they can assemble an army and stand up against attackers; once again, Cesare Borgia is cited as a perfect example. Machiavelli addresses the majority of this chapter to the other class of princes: “those who can’t take the field against their foes, but have to hide behind their walls and defend themselves there.” What should these more vulnerable princes do? They should keep their cities well-fortified; they should ignore the rural areas and focus their defense efforts on the urban centers; and they should be careful not to earn the people’s hatred. A prudent prince is able to keep his subjects loyal to him and in good spirits during a siege. The burden during a siege is often on the besieger; he can almost never afford to wage a siege and do nothing else for a year. Defense, therefore, can consist of slowing the attacker down, wearing him out. Machiavelli cites the cities in Germany as examples of good fortification. These cities have moats, walls, artillery, public warehouses of food, drink, and fuel, and large supplies of raw materials in reserve to keep workers busy and economies going during a siege.