The subject matter: new princedoms (chapters 1 and 2)
The Prince starts by describing the subject matter it will handle. In the first sentence Machiavelli uses the word "state" (Italian stato which could also mean "status") in order to neutrally cover "all forms of organization of supreme political power, whether republican or princely". The way in which the word state came to acquire this modern type of meaning during the Renaissance has been the subject of many academic discussions, with this sentence and similar ones in the works of Machiavelli being considered particularly important.
Machiavelli said that The Prince would be about princedoms, mentioning that he has written about ...view middle of the document...
He also ignores the classical distinctions between the good and corrupt forms, for example between monarchy and tyranny.Strauss (1958:272) points out that Machiavelli frequently uses the words "prince" and "tyrant" as synonyms, "regardless of whether he speaks of criminal or non-criminal tyrants".
Xenophon, on the other hand, made exactly the same distinction between types of rulers in the opening of his Education of Cyrus where he says that, concerning the knowledge of how to rule human beings, Cyrus the Great, his exemplary prince, was very different "from all other kings, both those who have inherited their thrones from their fathers and those who have gained their crowns by their own efforts".
Machiavelli divides the subject of new states into two types, "mixed" cases and purely new states.
"Mixed" princedoms (chapters 3 to 5)
New princedoms are either totally new, or they are “mixed” meaning that they are new parts of an older state, already belonging to that prince.
New conquests added to older states (chapter 3)
Machiavelli generalizes that there were several virtuous Roman ways to hold a newly acquired province, using a republic as an example of how new princes can act:
* to install one's princedom in the new acquisition, or to install colonies of one's people there, which is better.
* to indulge the lesser powers of the area without increasing their power.
* to put down the powerful people.
* not to allow a foreign power to gain reputation.
More generally, Machiavelli emphasizes that one should have regard not only for present problems but also for the future ones. One should not “enjoy the benefit of time” but rather the benefit of one's virtue and prudence, because time can bring evil as well as good.
Conquered kingdoms (chapter 4)
A 16th century Italian impression of the family of Darius III, emperor of Persia, before their conqueror, Alexander the Great. Machiavelli explained that in his time the Near East was again ruled by an empire, theOttoman empire, with similar characteristics to that of Darius - seen from the viewpoint of a potential conqueror.
In some cases the old king of the conquered kingdom depended on his lords. 16th century France, or in other words France as it was at the time of writing of the Prince, is given by Machiavelli as an example of such a kingdom. These are easy to enter but difficult to hold.
When the kingdom revolves around the king, then it is difficult to enter but easy to hold. The solution is to eliminate the old bloodline of the prince. Machiavelli used the Persian empire of Darius III, conquered by Alexander the Great, to illustrate this point and then noted that the Medici, if they think about it, will find this historical example similar to the "kingdom of the Turk" (Ottoman Empire) in their time - making this a potentially easier conquest to hold than France would be.
Conquered Free States, with their own laws and orders (Chapter 5)
Gilbert (1938:34) notes...