The Prince – Chapters 1-10
I have heard of Machiavelli before, but I have never read The Prince. Here are my main thoughts on Chapters 1-10.
CHAPTER ONE — HOW MANY KINDS OF PRINCIPALITIES THERE ARE, AND BY WHAT MEANS THEY ARE ACQUIRED
I think that this explanation of people either knowing they live under a prince or to live in freedom. I think this relates to people growing up in different countries. This can relate to the culture of different countries. As a simple example people in the U.S. may see that is it essential to tip their waiter, but in France, it is rude to tip their waiter. It is just what you know, and it does not necessarily distinguish who is right and wrong.
CHAPTER TWO— CONCERNING HEREDITARY PRINCIPALITIES
“For the hereditary prince has less cause and less necessity to offend; hence it happens that he will be more loved; and unless extraordinary vices cause him to be hated, it is reasonable to expect that his subjects will be naturally well disposed towards him;”
I think this is interesting. People who believe that is how life is will naturally see their prince as a godsend. People treat some world leaders as Gods because that is all they know. They will praise them, even when the leader does not deserve it. That is quite scary.
CHAPTER III — CONCERNING MIXED PRINCIPALITIES
“In this way you have enemies in all those whom you have injured in seizing that principality, and you are not able to keep those friends who put you there because of your not being able to satisfy them in the way they expected, and you cannot take strong measures against them, feeling bound to them.”
This is a risk that leaders have. In one moment, things can go wrong. The worst part is that your decision can not only affect you, but it could affect everyone around you. You cannot make everyone happy, so sometimes being a leader can feel like being trapped. One mistake can change the harmony of the business, and the leader has to deal with the consequences.
“the most real help would be that he who has acquired them should go and reside there. This would make his position more secure and durable, as it has made that of the Turk in Greece, who, notwithstanding all the other measures taken by him for holding that state, if he had not settled there, would not have been able to keep it. Because, if one is on the spot, disorders are seen as they spring up, and one can quickly remedy them; but if one is not at hand, they are heard of only when they are great, and then one can no longer remedy them.”
This might be a good strategy, but as we learn you cannot be everywhere all the time. Louis made some mistakes, and now he has to deal with those consequences. Being a prince sounds really hard. This also was an intense chapter in general.
CHAPTER IV — WHY THE KINGDOM OF DARIUS, CONQUERED BY ALEXANDER, DID NOT REBEL AGAINST THE SUCCESSORS OF ALEXANDER AT HIS DEATH
“When these things are remembered no one will marvel at the ease with which Alexander held the Empire of Asia, or at the difficulties which others have had to keep an acquisition, such as Pyrrhus and many more; this is not occasioned by the little or abundance of ability in the conqueror, but by the want of uniformity in the subject state.”
I think that is an interesting section of the reading because most of the time the people in the textbooks are known for one main thing, and all of the other details are forgotten. It does not matter the ong journey you had to go through, but what most of the time the end product was. I think being a good leader is to do a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff. It also is important to note that there are different ways at achieving success, or in this case to colonize entire countries. Patato Paatato.
CHAPTER V — CONCERNING THE WAY TO GOVERN CITIES OR PRINCIPALITIES WHICH LIVED UNDER THEIR OWN LAWS BEFORE THEY WERE ANNEXED
“But when cities or countries are accustomed to live under a prince, and his family is exterminated, they, being on the one hand accustomed to obey and on the other hand not having the old prince, cannot agree in making one from amongst themselves, and they do not know how to govern themselves. For this reason they are very slow to take up arms, and a prince can gain them to himself and secure them much more easily. But in republics there is more vitality, greater hatred, and more desire for vengeance, which will never permit them to allow the memory of their former liberty to rest; so that the safest way is to destroy them or to reside there.”
I thought this part was interesting because of how countries that used to have royalty will be very slow in taking up arms. I think this is viable for all parts of change. All the major changes happening in this country decades after the revolution took time to become changes. I think in some part some of my generation forgets all the hard work the people before us have fought for rights their whole lifetime. A lot of things happened since I was born, and we have to continue fighting for rights to continue the work.
CHAPTER VI — CONCERNING NEW PRINCIPALITIES WHICH ARE ACQUIRED BY ONE’S OWN ARMS AND ABILITY
“And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things, because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new…Thus it happens that whenever those who are hostile have the opportunity to attack they do it like partisans, whilst the others defend lukewarmly, in such wise that the prince is endangered along with them.”
I think this is known to people who start up their own business. It is a scary thing to go into unchartered territory, and all eyes will be on you. One mistake can cost you your business. That means being more critically criticized, and having a small group of people on your side. They can go against you at any moment because there is no foundation to the business yet. That is a risk!
CHAPTER VIII — CONCERNING THOSE WHO HAVE OBTAINED A PRINCIPALITY BY WICKEDNESS
“And above all things, a prince ought to live amongst his people in such a way that no unexpected circumstances, whether of good or evil, shall make him change; because if the necessity for this comes in troubled times, you are too late for harsh measures; and mild ones will not help you, for they will be considered as forced from you, and no one will be under any obligation to you for them.”
It is important to show how you are as a leader when you are the first introduced, so people know what to expect. They want reliability when things go well, and when things go bad. This reminded me of the Goldilocks story, where you do not want a leader who is too much of this or that. You need a good idea of what the situation is. If not, you are in for a bad situation.
CHAPTER IX — CONCERNING A CIVIL PRINCIPALITY
“Therefore, one who becomes a prince through the favor of the people ought to keep them friendly, and this he can easily do seeing they only ask not to be oppressed by him. But one who, in opposition to the people, becomes a prince by the favor of the nobles, ought, above everything, to seek to win the people over to himself, and this he may easily do if he takes them under his protection.”
This is interesting because of this works with politicians. There are politicians that are chosen by the people, and then there are judges chosen by a board. We can get leadership in different ways. It is important to make people feel listened to when their leader is someone they did not choose. Leaders have a thin line in bringing fellow members of the team, but also being seen as someone who is in charge.
“CHAPTER X — CONCERNING THE WAY IN WHICH THE STRENGTH OF ALL PRINCIPALITIES OUGHT TO BE MEASURED
“Therefore, a prince who has a strong city, and had not made himself odious, will not be attacked, or if anyone should attack he will only be driven off with disgrace; again, because that the affairs of this world are so changeable, it is almost impossible to keep an army a whole year in the field without being interfered with.”
“Further, the enemy would naturally on his arrival at once burn and ruin the country at the time when the spirits of the people are still hot and ready for the defence; and, therefore, so much the less ought the prince to hesitate; because after a time, when spirits have cooled, the damage is already done, the ills are incurred, and there is no longer any remedy, and therefore they are so much the more ready to unite with their prince, he appearing to be under obligations to them now that their houses have been burnt and their possessions ruined in his defence.”
This book is wild. I think that there is no way that a prince, or a leader now, can go on their journey scot-free. I think that one point of questioning the leader will come to the followers. It is up to the prince on how their reaction will be changed. I think that princes need to think fast before a revolution occurs against the prince. And can we comment on how America sounds like this right now?!?
“Therefore a wise prince ought to adopt such a course that his citizens will always in every sort and kind of circumstance have need of the state and of him, and then he will always find them faithful.”
I think how this will impact me is seeing how a prince or a leader needs to align their goals. I think this quote from the reading is really important. As a leader it is vital that you show everyone is an integral part of the group, and most importantly you need to make sure you show that you can really help your fellow people. In a way, you have to show that you matter to keep in power. It is perpexing because you want a team that is self-sufficient, but you also want to make sure that they need a leader to succeed. There has been that research in the previous chapters of teams doing better with leaders, so both the leader and the team can benefit from the relationship. I need to make sure that as a leader I can be reminded of that idea.
“Because such a government, being created by the prince, knows that it cannot stand without his friendship and interest, and does its utmost to support him; and therefore he who would keep a city accustomed to freedom will hold it more easily by the means of its own citizens than in any other way”
I think that this is part of the “why” we read these parts of the reading. I think it is important for the leader to know what is best for their people. If the leader wants to keep their job, then they have to accomodate to its people. It is important to make those friendship and create trust. Princes and leaders cannot think everyone they look over will blindly follow them. It is also important to allocate the power, and have the people more at ease. Just like in Europe the royal family have a democracy along with them. That is what kees them in a good ligth because if they kept being in power who knows what would have happened to them. Give the poeple what they want, but also do it that everyone can benefit from the situation. Princes and leaders have to make the tough decisions, so they need to show their people that they have their best interest.