Machiavelli’s The Prince Chapter 3: Concerning Mixed Principles; urges the prince to rule with motivating tactics and to ease slowly into their conquered states to optimize success. To starts this chapter, Machiavelli discusses composite principalities; that rulers often struggle with implementing. Further, he discusses how crucial it is to understand how to conquer a state and that is because of one natural difficulty–unhappy people.
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As a result of unreasonably harsh and tactless rule, people revolt and fight for what they want, and may even appoint a new ruler. This is not beneficial to a ruler who wants to maintain control. In retaliation to these revolts, rulers use harsh and immoral tactics to deal with these situations, and to Machiavelli this makes matters worse. However, Machiavelli believes that the prince can manipulate people’s trust in his favor. This include making the people think that they will benefit under the princes rule; as this happens the prince is gaining more agency, control, and power. His advice is outlined below.
Machiavelli starts by urging rulers to minimize harm to people, while simultaneously maximizing benefits to their reign. He emphasizes the importance of gaining the people’s goodwill, although he cautions that it will be impossible to maintain allies’ perfect “friendship” after a conquest. This is because, according to Machiavelli, a prince will always try to secure his control, and this might be to the expense of some people’s happiness. Machiavelli highlights that there is a fragile balance of power between a ruler and his subjects, and he believes that princes should take the necessary steps to maintain the balance in their own favor and to injure those who have made him the new ruler. But, he makes sure the end this thought by reminding the prince that the prince is nothing without the corporation of the people.
To Machiavelli, to maintain rule would mean to maintain the stability of the conqueror state. He believes that princes should integrate smoothly into their ruling and will maintain their power as long as their old lives are undisturbed. He expresses that conquesting similar territories, and refraining from altering laws and changing too much of the culture would help rulers prevent negatively implicating the lives of people. This in turn will help ruler gain trust of the people. Another tactic for princes to keep in mind is to be hesitant of power and starting trouble upon a new conquer. Machiavelli urges princes to not bring large armies or start war because the cons outweigh the pros as these tactics will provoke hatred in the people.
Machiavelli continues by encouraging rulers to use revolts in their favor. He counsels them to take advantage of this opportunity to reassert their power and, if necessary, to reorganize their states. Machiavelli advises princes to adopt harsh measures, when they deem it as necessary to secure their control over people. He believes that using punishment forms is an important component of governance. But to do so with limits, he adds, When lands that have rebelled are reconquered they are not lost so easily. Machiavelli uses France as an example, and expos how the french easily lost their conquest of Milan, because of their failed attempt to wage war to reconquer after a revolt a first and second time. He believes that King Louis made all the wrong choices, and is a perfect example of what not to do. To not eliminate the power of the people, to not bring foreign power in to newly conquered states, to not settle.
Machiavelli philosophy is general enough to be about to motivate people despite the period or place that they are in. Machiavelli’s advice can apply to any princes situation. Machiavelli truly is able to manipulate behavior on the basis of scheming. And he insists that the goal should never be to make people submit to a princes rule, but rather, not make it possible for them to ever revolt. To Machiavelli, truly consolidating your ruling is the golden rule.
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