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The Prince

The Prince

by Niccolò Machiavelli

The Prince Chapter 9 Summary

Monarchy with public support

  • Rulers that come to power because of the support of the people are the total opposite of bloody conquers. Everyone loves 'em. They're not too smart, or even extra lucky, but just enough to get by.
  • Our new ruler has three options for his new place: a monarchy where power goes to the nobles, a republic where power goes to the people, and anarchy.
  • In monarchies, either the nobles or the people decide to concentrate all the power in one person, the king.
  • Seems simple enough, but a king who comes to power because of the nobles will have a hard time. After all, the nobles have lots of power to throw around, too.
  • Remember, you don't want anyone who can compete with you around, and these are the people with the weapons. What are the regular people going to do to you? Poke you with their potatoes?
  • Bottom line: be friends with the people, because the nobles have too many tricks up their sleeves.
  • More on nobles. There are two kinds, those who are totally 100% loyally part of your fan club and those who aren't. Out of those who aren't, there are two kinds. Those who are just scaredy-cats (ignore them), and those who are planning something. The latter are the ones to watch out for because they will turn on you at the drop of a hat.
  • Okay, back to the people. You need to be on their side. It's pretty easy, actually, because they basically just don't want to be oppressed and tortured.
  • Also, if they thought you were going to be super mean, and you turn out to be okay, they will love you even more than if they loved you from the start. They're easy to please.
  • Some people say that it's a bad idea to depend on the support of the people. Machiavelli just doesn't agree—he says that's only the case if you're stupid and think they'll fight for you or rescue you.
  • That's not going to happen.
  • But they can support you and not turn against you.
  • Problems for the ruler supported by the people? When they want to become an absolute ruler, they need either give direct command or rule though other people who they give power to. The problem is, these people aren't always the most trustworthy—before you know it, everything is up in flames.
  • So, make sure your people always need not only your government (those guys you hired), but you specifically, and everything will be okay.
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