How we cite our quotes:
Most of all, though, a ruler should have the kind of relationship with his subjects where nothing that can happen, good or bad, will force him to change his approach, because if hard times demand it, your cruelty will come too late, while any concessions you make will be seen as wrung out of you and no one will be impressed. (8.8)
We guess this is good practice, but this stability sounds boring—not to mention really unlikely in the political climate that Machiavelli knew. How about a party every now and again?
I'll just conclude, then, that a ruler must have the people on his side; otherwise when things get tough there'll be no way out. (9.5)
Never forget that politics originally comes from a word meaning "citizen." That's the whole point! If the people aren't on your side, everything else Machiavelli has said is pointless.
So if he's sensible the ruler must work out a situation where his citizens will always need both his government and him, however well or badly things are going. Then they will always be loyal. (9.7)
This sounds like a bad relationship to us, but maybe it's just another way to keep the people on your side. (Rule number 1.) What strategies do rulers use to keep their citizens needing them? Are they anything like abusive relationships?