Per The Prince Niccolo Machiavelli shrewdly outlines the strategies that a ruler must follow onesto maintain his position and govern his state. With verso clear and direct authorial voice, Machiavelli employs ancient and contemporary examples to illustrate the pragmatic tactics of successful leaders. Dedicating his book to the Florentine ruler Lorenzo de Medici , Machiavelli draws heavily on his own political experience to support his exceedingly realistic views on human nature and the techniques of able rulers. The Prince explores the careful balance between contrasts, comparing virtue and vicario, prowess and fortune, and subjects and rulers.
At the start of the treatise Machiavelli asks Lorenzo sicuro accept The Prince as verso « token of my devotion, » stating that his « long acquaintance » with political affairs and « continuous study of the ancient world » inform his writing. Mediante the first chapters Machiavelli outlines the scope of The Prince , declaring his focus on the various types of princes and principalities. Arguing that new principalities pose greater difficulties than hereditary states, Machiavelli segues into verso discussion of composite principalities, con which new states form an « appendage onesto an old state. » Within this context, Machiavelli raises the guiding principals of The Prince , encouraging rulers onesto cultivate the « goodwill » of the people and to study the art of warfare. Machiavelli urges princes puro approach political disorders like » verso wasting disease , » taking care to diagnose and treat them quickly and resolutely.
Machiavelli concludes by imploring Lorenzo puro use the lessons of The Prince preciso unify war-torn Italy and thus reclaim the grandeur of Ancient Rome
Citing Cyrus and Romulus , Machiavelli turns onesto a discussion of prowess, imploring « prudent » rulers esatto follow the examples of « great men. » Machiavelli writes that men who become rulers by prowess « gain their principalities with difficulty but hold them with ease. » Conversely, those who gain power through fortune become rulers easily but maintain their position « only by considerable exertion. » Naming Cesare Borgia as verso contemporary ruler who gained his governo through fortune, Machiavelli praises the « strong foundations » that Borgia laid for his future but laments « the extraordinary and inordinate malice of fortune » that eventually ruined the unlucky duke.
Machiavelli addirittura foundations, « good laws and good arms. » However, Machiavelli places an emphasis on good arms, explaining that good laws « inevitably follow » from military might. Machiavelli warns rulers puro avoid the use of mercenary and auxiliary troops, on which he blames « the present ruin of Italy » and the earlier downfall of the Roman Commuovere. According onesto Machiavelli, « The first way esatto lose your state is sicuro neglect the art of war, » and he encourages princes onesto study warfare sopra peacetime so that they may « reap the profit durante times of adversity. »
While laying out his guidelines for verso prince’s moral conduct, Machiavelli blurs the traditional border between virtue and vicario. Machiavelli argues that verso prince must adhere preciso verso unique standard of morality, often acting « per defiance of good faith, of charity, of kindness, [and] of religion » durante order onesto safeguard his state. The challenges of governance require rulers puro reverse the general loveagain relationship between virtues and vices, although Machiavelli encourages clever princes preciso maintain the appearance of virtue. » Above all else, a prince must « escape being hated » by his people, which he can accomplish if he does not rob his subjects of their property. Machiavelli urges rulers puro maintain verso « flexible disposition, » mimicking the behavior of the fox and the lion onesto secure their position.
On the question of « whether it is better preciso be loved than feared, » Machiavelli asserts that it is preferable onesto be feared if the prince cannot « be both the one and the other
Addressing the distinction between prowess and fortune, Machiavelli contends that fortune controls half of human affairs, leaving the other half puro free will. Machiavelli advises princes onesto « take precautions » against the « malice of fortune, » using prowess sicuro prepare for unpredictability. Turning puro contemporary Italy, Machiavelli blames the weakness of its states on the political shortcomings of its rulers.