Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli (3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527) was an Italian Renaissance historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist, and writer. He has often been called the founder of modern political science. He also wrote comedies, carnival songs, and poetry. 

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Never was anything great achieved without danger.

Hatred is gained as much by good works as by evil.

Princes and governments are far more dangerous than other elements within society.

For among other evils caused by being disarmed, it renders you contemptible, which is one of those disgraceful things which a prince must guard against.

No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution.

When you disarm the people, you commence to offend them and show that you distrust them, either through cowardice or lack of confidence, and both of these opinions generate hatred.

Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs, that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions.

A return to first principles in a republic is sometimes caused by the simple virtues of one man. His good example has such an influence that the good men strive to imitate him and the wicked are ashamed to lead a life so contrary to his example.

Men shrink less from offending one who inspires love, than one who inspires fear.

A son can bear with equanimity the loss of his father but the loss of his inheritance may drive him to despair.

Politics have no relation to morals.

The wise man does at once what the fool does finally.

Whoever conquers a free town and does not demolish it commits a great error and may expect to be ruined himself.

The wish to acquire more is admittedly a very natural and common thing, and when men succeed in this they are always praised rather than condemned. But when they lack the ability to do so and yet want to acquire more at all costs they deserve condemnation for their mistakes.

Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage.

Severities should be dealt out all at once so that their suddenness may give less offense, benefits ought to be handed ought drop by drop so that they may be relished the more.

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.

Men are so simple and yield so readily to the desires of the moment, that he who will trick will always find another who will suffer to be tricked.

Where the willingness is great the difficulties cannot be great.

Tardiness often robs us opportunity and the dispatch of our forces.

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand more perilous to conduct or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.

A wise ruler ought never to keep faith when by doing so it would be against his interests.

War should be the only study of a prince. He should consider peace only as a breathing-time which gives him leisure to contrive and furnishes as ability to execute military plans.

War is just when it is necessary, arms are permissible when there is no hope except in arms.

Benefits should be conferred gradually, and in that way they will taste better.

If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.

The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present.

The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.

The main foundations of every state new states as well as ancient or composite ones are good laws and good arms you cannot have good laws without good arms and where there are good arms good laws inevitably follow.

Men ought either to be indulged or utterly destroyed for if you merely offend them they take vengeance but if you injure them greatly they are unable to retaliate so that the injury done to a man ought to be such that vengeance cannot be feared.

A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise.

It is necessary for him who lays out a state and arranges laws for it to presuppose that all men are evil and that they are always going to act according to the wickedness of their spirits whenever they have free scope.

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.

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 should be either treated generously or destroyed because they take revenge for slight injuries - for heavy ones they cannot.

It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver.

God is not willing to do everything and thus take away our free will and that share of glory which belongs to us.

Hence it comes about that all armed Prophets have been victorious and all unarmed Prophets have been destroyed.

I'm not interested in preserving the status quo, I want to overthrow it.

One change always leaves the way open for the establishment of others.

The new ruler must determine all the injuries that he will need to inflict. He must inflict them once and for all.

Of mankind we may say in general they are fickle hypocritical and greedy of gain.

There is no surer sign of decay in a country than to see the rites of religion held in contempt.

The fact is that a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous.

One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.

It is better to be feared than loved if you cannot be both.

Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.

It is much more secure to be feared than to be loved.

There is no avoiding war, it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.

The one who adapts his policy to the times prospers and likewise that the one whose policy clashes with the demands of the times does not.

He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command.

Before all else be armed.

Nature that framed us of four elements warring within our breasts for regiment doth teach us all to have aspiring minds.

To understand the nature of the people one must be a prince and to understand the nature of the prince one must be of the people.

Men rise from one ambition to another: first they seek to secure themselves against attack and then they attack others.

We cannot attribute to fortune or virtue that which is achieved without either.

It is not titles that honor men but men that honor titles.