Not dedicated to a ruler, but to two republican friends => more frank, can derive people
in power as incompetent.
What makes for civic greatness? => Liberty
How is liberty to be acquired, and how is it preserved?
Book I => Domestic Policies: things that happen inside the city
Book II => Foreign Policy: expand, attack, and build an empire
Book III => Public Council: Great leadership, private council
It is very dangerous to create a new order of things => referring to himself
(comparing to Christopher Columbus page 83) he thinks he is the first one to look
at history in the proper way.
Contradiction when he was lamenting that the moderns did not copy the ancients
(p83). Yet, p158 critiques the moderns to be fond of the ancients.
He wants moderns to be inspired by the ancients, but to conserve a critical eye.
We should keep in mind the amorality of their actions, etc.
Sees himself as a teacher => p161 he is talking to the young, especially to the
manliest. The young can easily get exited about contesting authority and traditions
—especially religious traditions—and they are not yet too syndical.
I) What is the origin of political society?
p84+p89 => largely out of necessity (need for security). In the beginning, there
was fear. Fear created the first monarchies. Fear and necessity are good things =>
Men never do any good except when they are forced to (p93). If you make things
difficult for your people, they will be ingenious, and productive. But, you don’t
have to base yourself on physical necessity
II) Artificial Necessities
Create good laws (artificial necessities): force citizens to be good, honest, hard
working, and efficient.
There is no best regime. The good ones don’t last, and the other ones are evil.
The ideal regime is the mixed constitution: using all good regimes. Rome had the
best regime (see notebook). Athens’ problem was that it was too democratic.
Mixed regime kept socials tensions tamed, but were not eradicated => have the
poor and the rich distrust each other is the best thing for liberty because both
camps will always look what the other is doing. In the Roman structure, the
Tribunes keep people in check. The rich want to oppress, and the poor want to be
left alone (93). Chap 5 => there is 2 distinct viewpoints in every republic: that of the populous,
and that of the elite. To get liberty, you have to use this tension.
If you want a republic whose goal is to conquer an empire, then follow the
romans: trust the people. If you want a stable republic, imitate Venice or Sparta:
trust the elite. If we look at the history, the elite are more trustable then the
populous: Venice and Sparta were longer lived then Rome.
P101: it’s boring, futile and dangerous for a state to merely seek stability. In life,
nothing stands still. Because of this, things must either be rising or falling.
Stability isn’t an option (but then why did Sparta survive?). Machiavelli chooses
400 years of Roman expansion over 800 years of stability. Longevity is not the
only matter. Power and grandeur matters. => You should trust the people with
power for the construction of an empire.
Wise rulers we construct a mixed constitutions, but at the end of the day you trust
your people. Second of all, he will create something like the tribunes in order to
use the conflict for stability.
Laws that permit people to make public accusation against powerful officials are