You must know, then, that there are two methods of fighting, one with laws, the other with force: the first one is proper to man, the second to beasts; but because the first one often does not suffice, one has to have recourse to the second. Therefore, it is necessary for a prince to know well how to use the beast and the man.
[A] prince, and especially a new prince, cannot practice all those things because of which men are considered good, since he is often obliged, in order to maintain the state, to act against loyalty, against charity, against humanity, against religion. And, therefore, it is necessary for him to have a mind disposed to turn itself about as the winds and variations of Fortune dictate, and . . . he should not deviate from what is good, if possible, but he should know how to enter into evil when necessity demands.
He is rendered contemptible by being thought changeable, frivolous, effeminate, cowardly, irresolute, against which a prince must guard himself as against a reef, and he must do his best so that in his actions one recognizes greatness, courage, dignity, and strength, and concerning the private affairs of his subjects, he should want his sentence to be irrevocable and should maintain such a reputation that no one would think to deceive him or try to get around him.
[W]hereas in other principalities one only has to contend with the ambition of the great and the insolence of the people, the Roman emperors had a third difficulty, that of having to endure the cruelty and avarice of the soldiers. This was such a difficulty that it was the cause of the downfall of many of them. . . . [T]he people loved peace and quiet, and because of this they loved princes that were moderate, while the soldiers loved a prince who had a martial spirit . . . and they wanted him to practice these qualities on the people in order to get double pay[.]
[H]atred is acquired as much by good deeds as evil ones, and therefore, as I said above, a prince who wants to hold onto his state is often forced not to be good, for when that group, whether it be the people, the soldiers, or the nobles, whose support you believe you need in order to rule, is corrupt, you must follow its humor and satisfy it, and then good deeds are your enemies.
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