The Prince

What kind of principalities are there?


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

In the first chapter, entitled “Different Kinds of States, and the Different Ways to Get Them,” Machiavelli proceeds to map out a classification of states. In short, we have princely states and republics. Princely states are either hereditary or new. The new states are either brand new or freshly joined to an established hereditary state. Of the latter, the conquered territories are accustomed to either living free or living under a prince.

The second chapter focuses on hereditary principates. These are easier to rule than new states, as tradition provides a basis for stable government. Machiavelli argues a key point here in regards to a people’s desire for change: “And in the antiquity and continuity of the government,” he writes, “people forget not only the reasons for innovations but their very existence, because every new change provides a footing to build on another.”

Chapter III, “On Mixed Principalities,” is a longer, more involved consideration of the problematic states: those states that are new and are “like a graft freshly joined to an old kingdom (so that the two bodies together may be considered mixed).” What we have here is, simply put, the conquest of territory. Machiavelli meditates on what exactly makes such a conquest successful, using two prime examples: the Roman Empire, which succeeded, and King Louis of France, who failed.