The Prince

What advice does Machiavelli offer to a prince? List at least 4 examples

List at least 4 examples

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

A conquered state whose original prince was its sole ruler is difficult to conquer, but easy to maintain; a conquered state in which the prince shared power with the barons is easy to conquer, but difficult to maintain.

When possible, a prince should strive to rise to power on his own merits and with his own arms. Relying on friends, good luck, or other people’s arms may make the rise easier, but holding onto his newfound power will prove a difficult task.

According to Machiavelli, reliance on mercenaries and auxiliaries for troops is a grave mistake. A prince must lay strong foundations – good laws and good arms – and if the latter is lacking, the former is rendered irrelevant. A state needs both to survive. Mercenaries are disloyal and divided; foreign auxiliaries come already united under another master, and so are in a way even more dangerous. The prince himself should be a student of war and an avid reader of military history.

Reputation is another important element to consider. The front princes put on to appeal to the populace is often a lie, as Machiavelli notes; the better the liar, the better the prince. That said, giving out money when it is fiscally irresponsible, just to appear generous, is a mistake; displaying excessive mercy in order to garner affection can prove fatal. Better safe than sorry; better to be feared than to be loved.