Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
Search Quotes Search Sages Search Chapters

Machiavelli

(Niccolò Machiavelli)

1469 – 1527 CE

Unjustly vilified by history as well as his contemporaries, Machiavelli is known as the “founder of modern political science,” a major influence on the USA’s founding fathers, and the development of modern science. Personified with unscrupulous, immoral political activity, devious deceit, realpolitik and evil tyrants; many of history’s true heroes like Spinoza, Rousseau, Francis Bacon, John Milton, Montaigne, and Descartes secretly considered him an inspiration for the Enlightenment that followed 200 years later. Rousseau thought his book The Prince - far from condoning - was not written as advice to ruler who already understood these principles but rather satirically exposed their corrupt methods to the common people. Not the source for the quote, “The end justifies the means,” Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson considered him a “partisan of liberty” and John Adams seriously studied his philosophy and used it to clarify the Constitution’s idea of mixed government.

Eras

Sources

Discourses on Livy

History of Florence

The Prince

Unlisted Sources

Quotes by Machiavelli (36 quotes)

“The more sand that escapes from our life’s hourglass, the more clearly we can see through it”

from The Prince

Chapters: 76. The Soft and Flexible

Themes: Old Age

Comments: Click to comment

“Although you may have fortresses, they will not save you if you are hated by the people.”

from The Prince

Chapters: 17. True Leaders

Comments: Click to comment

“Men in general judge more from appearances than from reality. All men have eyes, but few see clearly.”

from The Prince

Chapters: 21. Following Empty Heart

Comments: Click to comment

“Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived.”

from The Prince

Themes: Deception

Comments: Click to comment

“Everyone who wants to know what will happen ought to examine what has happened: everything in this world in any epoch has their replicas in antiquity.”

from The Prince

Comments: Click to comment

“Wisdom consists of knowing how to distinguish the nature of trouble, and in choosing the lesser evil.”

from The Prince

Themes: Wisdom Wisdom

Comments: Click to comment

“It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones.”

from The Prince

Comments: Click to comment

“A new prince, like David should exalt the humble and depress the great, ‘filling the hungry with good things, and sending the rich empty away.’”

from Discourses on Livy

Chapters: 77. Stringing a Bow

Comments: Click to comment

“Monarchies quickly becomes Tyrannies, Aristocracies Oligarchies, Democracies degenerate into Anarchy… no precaution can prevent them from sliding into their opposites because of how closely the virtue resembles the vice.”

from Discourses on Livy

Chapters: 18. The Sick Society

Comments: Click to comment

“Let no man lose heart from thinking that he cannot do what others have done before him… men are born, and live, and die, always in accordance with the same rules.”

from Discourses on Livy

Themes: Karma

Comments: Click to comment

“Everything that occurs in the world, in every epoch, has something that corresponds to it in ancient times.”

from Discourses on Livy

Chapters: 40. Returning

Themes: History

Comments: Click to comment

“There is nothing more important than appearing to be religious.”

from The Prince

Comments: Click to comment

“The vulgar crowd always is taken by appearances, and the world consists chiefly of the vulgar.”

from The Prince

Comments: Click to comment

“Above all things, good policy is to prevent treasuries and monies in a state from being gathered into a few hands.”

from The Prince

Comments: Click to comment

“There are 3 classes of intellects: one that comprehends by itself; one that appreciates what others comprehend; and a third that neigher comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others. The first is excellent, the second good, the third useless.”

from The Prince

Themes: Wisdom

Comments: Click to comment

“To experience constant success, it's necessary to change habits and attitudes, to recreate yourself according to the changing times.”

from The Prince

Comments: Click to comment

“The first opinion one forms of someone and of his understanding, is by seeing those he has around him.”

from The Prince

Themes: Friendship

Comments: Click to comment

“Always choose the lesser evil never imagining that you can decide on a perfectly safe course. You can never avoid one trouble without running into another one.”

from The Prince

Comments: Click to comment

“Appear as you may wish to be.”

from The Prince

Themes: Strategy

Comments: Click to comment

“It is better to act and repent than not to act and regret.”

from The Prince

Themes: Inspiration

Comments: Click to comment

“Only a good leader understands the nature of the people; only the people understand the true nature of the leader.”

from The Prince

Themes: Leadership

Comments: Click to comment

“A prince should have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else to study than the art of war, its rules and discipline.”

from The Prince

Themes: War

Comments: Click to comment

“Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past. Human events always resemble those of earlier times because human nature doesn't change, people are always animated by the same passions and so produce the same results.”

from The Prince

Comments: Click to comment

“Valor produces peace; peace, repose; repose, disorder; disorder, ruin. From disorder, order springs; from order, valor (virtue).”

from History of Florence

Comments: Click to comment

“Religion is the most necessary and assured support of any civil society... there never was a successful lawgiver who did not resort to divine authority, as otherwise his laws would not have been accepted by the people.”

from Discourses on Livy

Comments: Click to comment

“The nearer people are to the Roman Church, the less religious they are... Possibly the Christian religion would have been entirely extinguished by its corruption had not St Francis restored it to its original principles”

from Discourses on Livy

Comments: Click to comment

“Benefits should be granted little by little so that they may be better enjoyed.”

Comments: Click to comment

“The envious nature of men, so prompt to blame and so slow to praise, makes the discovery and introduction of any new principles and systems as dangerous almost as the exploration of unknown seas and continents”

from Discourses on Livy

Comments: Click to comment

“Those who read what the beginning of Rome was, and what her lawgivers and her organization, will not be astonished that so much virtue would have maintained itself during so many centuries; and that so great an empire should have sprung from it afterwards.”

from Discourses on Livy

Comments: Click to comment

“When a prince, a nobility, and the power of the people are combined under the same constitution, these three powers will watch and keep each other reciprocally in check.”

from Discourses on Livy

Themes: Government

Comments: Click to comment

“The majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are.”

from The Prince

Comments: Click to comment

“A man who wishes to act entirely up to this professions of virtue soon meets with what destroys him”

from The Prince

Themes: Golden Chains

Comments: Click to comment

“Injuries should be done all at one time—being tasted less, they offend less. Benefits should be given little by little—so that the flavor of them may last longer.”

from The Prince

Themes: Strategy

Comments: Click to comment

“Make men understand that to tell you the truth does not offend you... Those who do otherwise are either overthrown by flatterers, or so often changed by varying opinions that they fall into contempt.”

from The Prince

Themes: Truth

Comments: Click to comment

“Cunning and deceit will serve a man better than force to rise from a base condition to great fortune.”

from Discourses on Livy

Themes: Lies

Comments: Click to comment

“Politics have no relation to Morals.”

from Discourses on Livy

Themes: Virtue

Comments: Click to comment

Quotes about Machiavelli (5 quotes)

“Machiavelli was a proper man and a good citizen; but, being attached to the court of the Medici, he could not help veiling his love of liberty in the midst of his country's oppression... this profound political thinker has so far been studied only by superficial or corrupt readers.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1712 – 1778 CE
from Social Contract

Comments: Click to comment

“Machiavelli was able to return to the world on a more etherial plane, on which his effect on the world has been vastly greater... he succeeded in transmuting his practical energies into a series of mighty intellectual works which have been the seeds of our modern, Western political philosophy.”

Arnold Toynbee 1889 – 1975 CE
from A Study of History

Comments: Click to comment

“The contradiction between the teaching of The Prince and that of the Discourses on Livy and the History of Florence shows that this profound political thinker has so far been studied only by superficial or corrupt readers. The Court of Rome sternly prohibited his book. I can well believe it; for it is that Court it most clearly portrays.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1712 – 1778 CE
from Social Contract

Comments: Click to comment

“The ancient law giver was a benevolent myth; the modern law giver is a terrifying reality. The world has become more like that of Machiavelli than it was, and the modern man who hope to refute his philosophy must think more deeply than seemed necessary in the 19th century.”

Bertrand Russell 1872 – 1970 CE
“20th century Voltaire”
from History of Western Philosophy

Comments: Click to comment

“We live today in the shadow of a Florentine... Niccoló Machiavelli who wrote a grammar of power, not only for the 16th century, but for all the ages that have followed… he came close to setting down the imperative way which men govern and are governed in political communities, whatever the epoch and whatever the governmental structure.”

Max Lerner 1902 – 1992 CE
(Maxwell Alan)

Comments: Click to comment

Comments (0)

Please log in or create an account to comment.