The Prince

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli provides an analysis on how to govern and maintain power in a principality. In thefirst five chapters, he defines the three ways a monarch can acquire his dominion: either he inherits it, whether he creates a new one, or annexes territories, and further discusses how to govern them. Machiavelli states that hereditary principalities are less problematic than the mixed ones since newly acquired dominion tend to be more rebellious. The ruler must therefore colonize them and allow citizen to keep their laws or annihilate the governmental structure. In order to illustrate his point, he analyses the success of Alexander the Great conquest in Iran. He then considers five possible ways to acquire power and become a prince (Ch. VI-XI). First, a private citizen can become a ruler due to his own qualities or virtues, like Cyrus or Romulus. A second way to become a ruler is through other's power or favor. Hence a man like Cesare Borgia gained power due to his father support, but lost it when the latter died. For Machiavelli, getting power so quickly can be dangerous since the new monarch might lack knowledge on how to govern. In the third case, he uses the example of Agathocles of Sicily to illustrate power gained through murders. In his opinion, the conqueror must decide if his crimes will help him establish power and then commit them all at once so that he can later reestablish the confidence of his subjects. The fourth method is called civil principality, people basically choose the ruler, and this enables him to maintain power. The last possibility is to be elected pope and Machiavelli provides a brief overview of the religious order. Next, he explores (Ch. XII- XIV) which arms are best to defend a principality and states that a ruler can chose to use "his own, or mercenaries, or auxiliaries or a mixture of all three." From Chapter XV throughout Chapter XIX, Machiavelli proposes to describe ho…


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