Fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.
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But by disarming, you at once give offence, since you show your subjects that you distrust them, either as doubting their courage, or as doubting their fidelity, each of which imputations begets hatred against you.
The best fortress which a prince can possess is the affection of his people.
For, in truth, there is no sure way of holding other than by destroying.
Just as artists who draw landscapes get down in the valley to study the mountains and go up to the mountains to look down on the valley, so one has to be a prince to get to know the character of a people and a man of the people to know the character of a prince.
The distinction between children and adults, while probably useful for some purposes, is at bottom a specious one, I feel. There are only individual egos, crazy for love.
Men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.
And truly it is a very natural and ordinary thing to desire to acquire, and always, when men do it who can, they will be praised or not blamed; but when they cannot, and wish to do it anyway, here lies the error and the blame.
He said that it always struck him with surprise that while men in buying an earthen or glass vase would sound it first to learn if it were good, yet in choosing a wife they were content with only looking at her.
The wise prince, therefore, has always avoided these arms and turned to his own and has been willing rather to lose with them than to conquer with the others, not deeming that a real victory which is gained with the arms of others.
Do not let our princes accuse fortune for the loss of their principalities after so many years' possession, but rather their own sloth, because in quiet times they never thought there could be a change (it is a common defect in man not to make any provision in the calm against the tempest), and.
If princes are indeed superior to the people in enacting laws, in organizing civil governments, in setting up new statues and ordinances, then doubtless the people are so superior in maintaining what has been instituted that they increase the glory of those who instituted them.
Since it is difficult to join them together, it is safer to be feared than to be loved when one of the two must be lacking.
If his ministers are capable and loyal, people will always reckon a ruler astute, because he was able to recognize their ability and command their loyalty. When they are not, people will always have reason to criticize, because the first mistake the ruler made was in his choice of ministers. Everyone.
There are three kinds of intelligence: one kind understands things for itself, the other appreciates what others can understand, the third understands neither for itself nor through others. This first kind is excellent, the second good, and the third kind useless.