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Niccolo Machiavelli
Italian politician and political theorist
(1469-1527)



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Men should either be treated generously or destroyed, because they take revenge for slight injuries -- and heavy ones they cannot.
--The Prince

This leads to a debate: is it better to be loved than feared, or the reverse? The answer is that it is desirable to be both, but because it is difficult to join them together, it is much safer for a prince to be feared than loved, if he is to fail in one of the two.
-- The Prince

Since, then, a prince is necessitated to play the animal well, he chooses among the beasts the fox and the lion... The prince must be a fox, therefore to recognize the traps and a lion to frighten the wolves.
-- The Prince

There is no other way for securing yourself against flatteries except that men understand that they do not offend you by telling you the truth; but when everybody can tell you the truth, you fail to get respect.
-- The Prince

It is necessary for him who lays out a state and arranges laws for it to presuppose that all men are evil and that they are always going to act according to the wickedness of their spirits whenever they have free scope.
-- Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy

"It never or rarely happens that a republic or monarchy is well constituted, or its old institutions entirely reformed, unless it is only done by one individual."
-- Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy

"If...sometimes you need to conceal a fact with words, do it in such a way that it does not become known, or, if it does become known, that you have a quick and ready defence."
-- "Advice to Raffaello Girolami when he went as Ambassador to the Emperor" (October 1522), quoted in: Machiavelli: The Chief Works and Others (Allan Gilbert, tr., 1965)


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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