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Machiavelli The Prince Chapter 6 Summary

Sometimes the enemy will come and destroy the fields which are outside the city walls. A good solution I would suggest is to put watch towers and military barracks near the fields, in the country side so there can be soldiers ready to defend the fields. Chapter eleven deals with ecclesiastical Princedoms, which are acquired by merit or good luck, but are maintained by neither of those. These states are upheld by religious institutions who keep the princes in power, not matter how they live or act. These princes do not defend their states. They have subjects but do not rule over them.

Even so, these states are live happily. Before Pope Alexander VI, kings in Italy did not respect the popes and their authority. After him, other popes continued to increase the power of the church. Machiavelli suggests Lorenzo de’ Medici to make his position great through his goodness. One thing I can notice in this chapter is the ambition for power of the popes who they claim to be the “representatives of Christ” on earth. In chapter twelve, Machiavelli starts off by talking about mercenaries. He says that these are useless and dangerous because they are disunited, ambitious, insubordinate, treacherous, etc.

I find this quite true. Trusting mercenaries is quite dangerous because one day, knowing that the king does not have strong military power, they might take arms agains the prince and steal his throne. Sometimes these mercenaries are cowards and hide when you need them. In chapter thirteen we are still talking about the different troops princes can hire to help them in battle. This time it is about auxiliary, mixed, and national troops. Machiavelli tells us that auxiliary troops can be dangerous if we are victorious after war.

He tells us of an Emperor of Constantinople who hired ten thousand Turkish soldiers and sent them to Greece. When the war in Greece was over, they refused to leave and Greece fell into servitude to the Infidel. They are more organized than mercenaries and show more valor, whereas mercenaries are cowards. He tells us that it is best to gain victory with one’s own arms than with other’s arms. Mixed troops are composed of mercenaries and auxiliary troops and these are better than just auxiliary or just mercenary troops, but not better than national troops.

I would say that the key would be to hire mercenary, auxiliary, and national troops. Balance is key. Too many soldiers of either of the first two groups is two dangerous. Chapter fourteen talks about princes and their duty when it comes to military affairs. Machiavelli makes it look like war is a hobby or a skill that the prince should be always improving. He says “… for war is the sole art looked for in one who rules… ” A prince who is not involved in military affairs cannot be respected by his soldiers, and he does not know them well enough to trust them.

The author says that the prince, in times of peace, should study his lands and states, so that he can know how to defend his country in times of war, or so he could be acquainted with the local authorities. He tells us of the Prince of the Achaians, who would always go to the country side to study it and think of methods to attack, defend from, or flee from his enemy. Machiavelli encourages princes to read stories of great military captains and conquerors so that he may learn from them.

After reading this, I wonder what Machiavelli would think of the president of Costa Rica who does not have a national army. As read in chapter 15, a prince will always have strengths and weaknesses and they must know how to use these carefully or a mistake could cause them to loose their state. Being a good prince always is not a good idea, according to Machiavelli, and a prince should also know when and how to be a bad guy. I agree with Machiavelli because when a prince is too nice, his subjects, or commoners, might take advantage of that and even use it against the prince himself.

Machiavelli, in chapter 16, thinks it is good to have a reputation for being liberal (generous), but, he says “liberality without the reputation of it is hurtful. ” In society, no one is viewed as a truly caring person when they do generous acts in public so they can be seen by everyone. A liberal prince will usually end up consuming all his luxury and he will be forced to demand more tributes and he will try to find ways to get more money. These things will make him hateful among his subjects. In my opinion, a prince should be careful when giving people out of generosity.

They will get used to this and eventually will demand more. It is better to be called avaricious and not being hated than to be a plunderer driven by the desire to be a reputed liberal, which people will hate. In chapter 17, the author thinks it’s better for a prince to be seen as merciful and not cruel. And when he should make wise use of clemency when showing mercy. Also, a prince should not worry about being reputed cruel, because cruelty might be the best solution to keep the unity of the people. An example of this is Cesare Borgia.

Machiavelli also thinks that it is better when a prince is more feared than loved because his subjects might rebel against him in times of war and they will not be fearful of punishment from the prince. A prince who is more cruel than merciful will create fear among his subjects and these will respect him always. My opinion is that there should be a balance since too much of either one will cause his people to take advantage of it or they will hate the prince for being cruel. In chapter 19 we find two ways of contending, one is by the laws, the other by force.

The first one “… is proper to men, the second to beasts. ” Machiavelli is telling us that a prince has to learn how to behave like a man and like a beast. When the prince behaves like a beast, he has to be like both, the fox and the lion. A prince should fulfill his promise only when it does not clash with his interests. As long as the prince keeps the state united and under control, even when his people are being deceived, they will be happy and will honor their prince. A prince should, at all costs, escape from motives that will make him hateful.

Chapter 19 says that a prince may become hateful when he touches his subjects’ stuff. A prince should be fearful of two things: rebellion of his subjects or attacks from foreign forces. In order to avoid conspiracy in the princedom, the prince must keep from being hated. Wise princes know how to make their people happy and their nobility happy as well. Even though this sounds almost impossible, Machiavelli gives us France as an example of a princedom where both the nobility and the commoners were happy.

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