All states and dominions which hold or have held sway over mankind are either republics or monarchies. Monarchies are either hereditary ones, in which the rulers have been for many years of the same family, or else they are those of recent foundation. The newly founded ones are either entirely new, as was Milan to Francesco Sforza, or else they are, as it were, new members grafted on to the hereditary possessions of the prince that annexes them, as is the kingdom of Naples to the King of Spain. The dominions thus acquired have either been previously accustomed to the rule of another prince, or else have been free states, and they are annexed either by force of arms of the prince, or of others, or else fall to him by good fortune or merit. I will not here speak of republics, having already treated of them fully in another place. I will deal only with monarchies, and will show how the various kinds described above can be governed and maintained. In the first place, in hereditary states accustomed to the reigning family the difficulty of maintaining them is far less than in new monarchies; for it is sufficient not to exceed the ancestral usages, and to accommodate one's self to accidental circumstances; in this way such a prince, if of ordinary ability, will always be able to maintain his position, unless some very exceptional and excessive force deprives him of it; and even if he be thus deprived of it, on the slightest misfortune happening to the new occupier, he will be able to regain it. We have in Italy the example of the Duke of Ferrara, who was able to withstand the assaults of the Venetians in the year '84, and of Pope Julius in the year '10, for no other reason than because of the antiquity of his family in that dominion. In as much as the legitimate prince has less cause and less necessity to give offence, it is only natural that he should be more loved; and, if no extraordinary vices make him hated, it is only reasonable for his subjects to be naturally attached to him, the memories and causes of innovations being forgotten in the long period over which his rule has existed; whereas one change always leaves the way prepared for the introduction of another.
||: Niccolò Machiavelli
||: 68 Pages