The Prince HTML version

Of Hereditary Princedoms
Of Republics I shall not now speak, having elsewhere spoken of them at
length. Here I shall treat exclusively of Princedoms, and, filling in the
outline above traced out, shall proceed to examine how such States are to
be governed and maintained.
I say, then, that hereditary States, accustomed to the family of their
Prince, are maintained with far less difficulty than new States, since all
that is required is that the Prince shall not depart from the usages of his
ancestors, trusting for the rest to deal with events as they arise. So that if
an hereditary Prince be of average address, he will always maintain him-
self in his Princedom, unless deprived of it by some extraordinary and ir-
resistible force; and even if so deprived will recover it, should any, even
the least, mishap overtake the usurper. We have in Italy an example of
this in the Duke of Ferrara, who never could have withstood the attacks
of the Venetians in 1484, nor those of Pope Julius in 1510, had not his au-
thority in that State been consolidated by time. For since a Prince by birth
has fewer occasions and less need to give offence, he ought to be better
loved, and will naturally be popular with his subjects unless outrageous
vices make him odious. Moreover, the very antiquity and continuance of
his rule will efface the memories and causes which lead to innovation.
For one change always leaves a dovetail into which another will fit.