Niccolo Machiavelli

The Prince

" . . . [T]he conqueror must arrange to commit all his cruelties at once . . . "1a

" . . . [H]ow we live is so far removed from how we ought to live, that he who abandons what is done for what ought to be done, will rather learn to bring about his own ruin than his preservation."1b

" . . . [A prince] must abstain from taking the property of others, for men forget more easily the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony."1c RAND

" . . . [I]t is necessary . . . to be a great feigner and dissembler; and men are so simple and so ready to obey present necessities, that one who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived."1d HEGEL HUME

" . . . [I]n the actions of men . . . from which there is no appeal, the end justifies the means."1e

The Discourses

" . . . [T]hough all things are objects of desire, not all things are attainable; so that desire always exceeds the power of attainment, with the result that men are ill content with what they possess . . . "

" . . . [H]ow easily men are corrupted . . . however good they may be and however well taught."2b

"Money . . . not only affords you no protection, but makes you the sooner fall a prey. . . it is not gold, as is acclaimed by common opinion, that constitutes the sinews of war, but good soldiers; for gold does not find good soldiers, but good soldiers are quite capable of finding gold."2c

" . . . [A] prince who wishes to do great things must learn to practice deceit."2d

" . . . [N]othing is more essential or more useful to a general than to discover what the enemy has decided and is planning to do."2e


1 Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527). The Prince (1531). Translated by Luigi Ricci. Revised by E.R.P. Vincent. Introduction by Christian Gauss. New York, NY: The New American Library of World Literature, Inc., 1952. (Reprint of a hardcover edition published by Oxford University Press, Inc.)
a Of Those Who Have Attained the Position of Prince by Villainy, at 62..
b Of the Things for Which Men, and Especially Princes, Are Praised or Blamed, at 84.
c Of Cruelty and Clemency, and Whether It Is Better to Be Loved or Feared, at 90.
d In What Way Princes Must Keep Faith, at 93.
e Ibid., at 94.

2 Niccolò Machiavelli. The Discourses. Edited with an Introduction by Bernard Crick using the translation of Leslie J. Walker, S.J. Revisions by Brian Richardson. Bernard Crick, 1970. London, UK: Penguin Books Ltd. (Penguin Classics.)
a Book One, Discourse 37, at 200.
b Book One, Discourse 42, at 217.
c Book Two, Discourse 10, at 300 and 302.
d Book Two, Discourse 13, at 310.
e Book Three, Discourse 18, at 455.