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The Prince

The Prince


by Niccolò Machiavelli

The Prince Chapter 6 Summary

States won by the new ruler's own forces and abilities

  • Now on to totally new states with rulers who have never ruled before. In this case, whether things go good or bad is based on whether the new ruler is good at his job.
  • True, there is some luck involved, but those guys who were just lucky didn't last long.
  • Let's talk about those guys who weren't "just lucky." Machiavelli starts talking about the big shots: Moses, Cyrus, Romulus, Theseus.
  • These are some high-rolling, nation-building, founding fathers. These are not just lucky guys. Sure they had some luck to get where they are. But why do we remember them? Because they had talent.
  • Just like any new ruler, these guys had a lot of trouble at first. The hardest thing is to establish a new type of government in an area, because everyone hates change at first—just ask those people starting petitions to bring back the old Facebook.
  • But the real question you have to ask is this: does the new ruler have his own army? If not, well, you're out of luck.
  • None of these mythical greats like Moses relied on other people; they had armies backing them up and they weren't afraid to use them.
  • Once all those people who didn't like you have been "dealt with" (that's code word for massacred), you can rest easy and kick back in your new kingdom.
  • All this time, Machiavelli has been talking about fancy old leaders, but he has a slightly less fancy modern-day (for him, at least) example for all the people who will say that the examples are just fairy tales.
  • Hiero, the King of Syracuse followed Machiavelli's recommendations to the letter.
  • He was lucky at first and was made king because people seriously needed a leader. After that, it was all hard work. He got rid of the old army, made a new one, forged alliances, and broke off the old ones, so in the end he was only relying on his own power.
  • No wonder he was able to keep his new lands, even though he was a regular dude.

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