Important Quotations Explained
this point one may note that men must be either pampered or annihilated.
They avenge light offenses; they cannot avenge severe ones; hence,
the harm one does to a man must be such as to obviate any fear of
are by nature changeable. It is easy to persuade them about some
particular matter, but it is hard to hold them to that persuasion.
Hence it is necessary to provide that when they no longer believe,
they can be forced to believe.
prince must have no other objective, no other thought, nor take
up any profession but that of war, its methods and its discipline,
for that is the only art expected of a ruler. And it is of such
great value that it not only keeps hereditary princes in power,
but often raises men of lowly condition to that rank.
the expenditure of one’s own resources is harmful; and, indeed,
nothing feeds upon itself as liberality does. The more it is indulged,
the fewer are the means to indulge it further. As a consequence,
a prince becomes poor and contemptible or, to escape poverty, becomes
rapacious and hateful. Of all the things he must guard against,
hatred and contempt come first, and liberality leads to both. Therefore it
is better to have a name for miserliness, which breeds disgrace
without hatred, than, in pursuing a name for liberality, to resort
to rapacity, which breeds both disgrace and hatred.
a question arises: whether it is better to be loved than feared,
or the reverse. The answer is, of course, that it would be best
to be both loved and feared. But since the two rarely come together,
anyone compelled to choose will find greater security in being feared
than in being loved. . . . Love endures by a bond which men, being
scoundrels, may break whenever it serves their advantage to do so;
but fear is supported by the dread of pain, which is ever present.
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