Skip over navigation

The Prince

Niccolò Machiavelli

Chapters XXIV–XXVI

Chapters XX–XXIII

Chapters XXIV–XXVI, page 2

page 1 of 2

Summary — Chapter XXIV: Why the Princes of Italy Have Lost Their States

Machiavelli suggests that any new prince who successfully follows the advice found in The Prince will enjoy the stability of a hereditary prince, since men are more aware of the present than of the past.

A number of Italian princes have lost states through their own military faults. They fled when they should have fought, expecting their subjects to call them back. These princes failed because of their own incompetence and not as a result of a string of bad luck. They took too much comfort in prosperous times, never anticipating danger. When they were conquered, they hoped that the people would revolt and recall them; but it is always folly to depend upon others for security. A prince’s best defense is his own valor.

Summary — Chapter XXV: Concerning the Influence of Fortune in Human Affairs, and the Manner in Which It Is to Be Resisted

Although it is often thought that fortune controls human affairs, fortune controls only half of one’s actions, while free will determines the other half. Fortune is like a flooding river: it is only dangerous when men have not built dykes against it beforehand. Italy has not built dykes, and as a result it has experienced tumultuous upheaval. Germany, Spain, and France have taken better care and have reaped the benefits of stability.

As fortune varies, one man may succeed and another fail, even if they both follow the same path. Times and circumstances change, so a prince must adjust to them in order to remain successful; however, men tend to stay on the course that has brought them success in the past. Circumstances allowed Julius II to act impetuously, but if he had lived longer, he would have been ruined when circumstances changed. On the whole, however, impetuosity surpasses caution. Fortune favors energetic youth over cautious age.

Summary — Chapter XXVI: An Exhortation to Free Italy from the Hands of the Barbarians

Italy’s current disarray favors the emergence of a new prince who will bring happiness to the Italian people. Until recently, there had been a prince who seemed ordained by heaven to redeem Italy. But a string of bad luck has prevented such an outcome.

Lorenzo de’ Medici is Italy’s best hope. If he has learned from the great men named in The Prince, the salvation of Italy will not be difficult. For though those men were great, they were still only men, with no greater opportunities or grace than Lorenzo’s own. Past wars and princes have failed to strengthen Italy because its military system was old and defective.

More Help

Previous Next
Mixed Up

by PinguZ45, January 29, 2014

It's supposed to be able to ward of wolves like a lion and recognize traps like a fox. Sorry, just a minor correction

0 Comments

2 out of 2 people found this helpful

Hobbes was NOT a monarchist

by Ultra_Vires, May 01, 2014

Hobbes was not a monarchist; this is stated in the introduction written by C.B MacPhearson in Hobbes' Leviathan. It's true he wanted order, but calling him a Monarchist is wrong; he merely advocated a SOVREIGN. He alienated Monarchists by claiming that divine rule was NOT a legitimate form of governance.

"He preached obedience, that is to say, he set out the rational grounds for obedience, to whatever political authority actually exercised power at the time. But his doctrine was not calculated to please any of those who successively ... Read more

0 Comments

12 out of 16 people found this helpful

I spent a few hours on this, on chapter 3 Machiavelli summary

by anon_2223130183, November 30, 2014

On chapter 3;

"A prince should injure people only if he knows there is no threat of revenge."

http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/prince/section2.rhtml

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I disagree with this, as I believe this sentence meant something else, as in to prevent/oppress, or avo... Read more

3 Comments

1 out of 1 people found this helpful

Follow Us