Superphysics Superphysics
Chapters 1-3

How Many Kinds Of Principalities There Are, How They Are Acquired

by Machiavelli Icon
5 minutes  • 1056 words
Table of contents

There are only two kinds of states:

  1. Republics
  2. Principalities

Principalities are either:

  • hereditary, where the family has long, established control
  • new
    • entirely new like Milan to Francesco Sforza
    • members added to the hereditary state of the prince who has acquired them, as was the kingdom of Naples to that of the King of Spain.

Such states thus acquired are either accustomed to live under a prince, or to live in freedom. They are acquired either by the military power of the prince himself or of others, or else by fortune or by ability.

Chapter 2: Hereditary Principalities

It is easier to hold hereditary states, particularly those long accustomed to the family of their prince, than new ones. This is because the prince only has:

  • to maintain the customs of those who ruled before him, and
  • to deal carefully with circumstances as they arise

In this way, am average prince can maintain himself in his state unless he loses it by some extraordinary and excessive force. If he loses it in this way, he will be able to get it back if something unfortunate happens to the one who took it from him.

The Duke of Ferrara in Italy lasted against the attacks of:

  • the Venetians in 1484
  • Pope Julius in 1510

This was only because he had been long established in his principality.

The hereditary prince has less cause and less necessity to offend, hence it happens that he will be more loved.

Unless extraordinary wickedness causes him to be hated, his subjects will be naturally well disposed towards him. The longer his rule, the more likely that the desire for change will be lost.

Chapter 3: Mixed Principalities

New principalities, particularly mixed principalities which add new ones to an old state, have inherent problems.

People change their rulers willingly, hoping to better themselves.

  • This hope induces them to take up arms against their prince.

However, they are deceiving themselves when they realize that they have gone from bad to worse.

  • This is because the new prince suffers infinite hardships, such as supporting his army, which he must impose on the people.

In this way:

  • you have enemies in those whom you have injured in seizing that principality, and
  • you also will not be able to keep those friends who put you there because you cannot satisfy them in the way they expected.
    • You cannot take strong measures against them because
      • you are bound to them and
      • you always need the cooperation of the local people

This is why Louis 12th, King of France, quickly occupied Milan and quickly lost it. Only Lodovico’s own forces were needed to kick him out. This is because those who had opened the gates to Louis found themselves deceived in their hopes of future benefit. And so they did not put up with his cruel treatment.

After acquiring rebellious states a second time, they are not so easily lost afterwards. This is because the prince will be more willing to:

  • punish the rebels
  • clear out the suspects, and
  • strengthen himself in the weakest places.

Thus, to cause France to lose Milan the first time, it was enough for the Duke Lodovicoto to raise rebellions on the borders. But on the second time, he had to bring the whole world against Louis 12th.

New additions to an ancient state are either of the same country and language, or they are not.

When they are, it is easier to hold them, especially when they have not been accustomed to self-government.

To hold them securely it is enough to have destroyed the family of the prince who was ruling them, because the two peoples preserving in other things the old conditions, and not being unlike in customs, will live quietly together.

This can be seen in Brittany Burgundy, Gascony, and Normandy, which have been bound to France a very long time. Their language might be different. But their customs are alike. The people easily get along.

The prince who wishes to hold such additions must remember two things:

  1. The family of their former prince is destroyed
  2. Neither their laws nor taxes should be altered

In a very short time, they will become entirely integrated in the old principality.

But when states of different language, customs or laws are acquired, a lot of energy and good fortune are needed to hold them.

Solutions to Diverse States

Move the Capital there

The prince should go and reside there. This would secure his position because he can remedy problems quickly as they spring up. But if one is far, the problems are heard of only when they are great. By then, he can no longer remedy them.

Besides this, the country is not exploited by officials. The subjects are satisfied by easy access to the prince. Thus, they have more cause to love him or fear him.

A rival state will think twice on attackng it.

Move Your People There

Another better option is to establish settlements or colonies in one or two places which will tie the state to you. If you do not do this, you will have to keep part of your army there.

A prince does not have to spend much on such settlements. With a small expense, he can send the settlers there and keep them there. He offends only a minority of the citizens from whom he takes land and houses to give to the new settlers.

Such a minority are poor and scattered. These can never able injure him.

The rest being uninjured are easily kept quiet. They do not cause trouble otherwise they might lose their land and houses.

These settlements are:

  • not costly
  • more faithful
  • injure less
  • the injured are poor and scattered, cannot hurt.

Men should either be well treated or crushed because they can revenge themselves of lighter injuries, but of more serious ones they cannot. Therefore, the injury that is to be done should be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.

Using an army instead of a colony to occupy a diverse state is much more expensive.

This causes the acquisition to become a loss. This injures the whole state. The soldiers have to shift from place to place and experience hardship and later become hostile. Therefore, such guards are as useless as a settlement is useful.

Any Comments? Post them below!