Aristotle & Machiavelli Fall 2007 Overview Aristotle Machiavelli Mill Aristotle Biographical Overview 384-322 B.C.E. Born in Macedonia, to wealthy parents connected to the royal household Studied with Plato for 17 years Tutor to Alexander the Great 343-335 B.C.E.
“End” of Regime
“The first and obvious point to make is that if indeed we do understand the causes of their [i.e., Constitutions’] destruction, then we understand also the causes of their preservation. For opposites are productive of opposites, and destruction is the opposite of preservation” (V, viii, 1307b26)
“It is most important in every constitution that the legal and other administrative arrangements should be such that holding office is not a source of profit”
-- V, viii, 1308b3I
“For one can generally say this about men: they are ungrateful, fickle, simulators and deceivers, avoiders of danger, greedy for gain; and while you work for their good they are completely yours, offering you their blood, their property, their lives, and their sons, as I said earlier, when danger is far away; but when it comes nearer to you they turn away” (chapter XVII).
“Learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge or not to use it according to necessity” (chapter XV)
“You must, therefore, know that there are two means of fighting: one according to the laws, the other with force; the first way is proper to man, the second to beasts; but because the first, in many cases is not sufficient, it becomes necessary to have recourse to the second” (chapter XVIII).
for the lion cannot defend itself from traps and the fox
“Since, then, a prince must know how to make good use of the nature of the beast, he should choose from among the beasts the fox and the lion;
cannot protect itself from wolves.
It is therefore necessary to be a fox in order to recognize the traps and a lion in order to frighten the wolves.”
“Cesare Borgia acquired the state through the favour and help of his father, and when this no longer existed, he lost it, and this despite the fact that he did everything and used every means that a prudent and skillful man ought to use in order to root himself securely in those states that the arms and fortune of others had granted him”
Borgia takes over Romagna, but is meeting resistance since “it was ruled by powerless noblemen who had been quicker to despoil their subjects than to govern them, and gave them cause to disunite rather than to unite them”
“Since he knew that the severities of the past had brought about a certain amount of hate, in order to purge the minds of those people and win them over completely, he planned to demonstrate that if cruelty of any kind had come about, it did not stem from him [Borgia] but rather from the bitter nature of the minister…”
“And having found the occasion to do this, he had him placed one morning in Cesena on the piazza in two pieces with a piece of wood and a bloodstained knife alongside him.”
“The atrocity of such a spectacle left those people at one and the same time satisfied and stupefied.”
Agathocles the Sicilian (chapter VIII)
Oliverotto of Fermo (chapter VIII)
“In taking a state its conqueror should weigh all the harmful things he must do and do them all at once so as not to have to repeat them every day, and in not repeating them to be able to make men feel secure and win them over with the benefits he bestows upon them”
“And it is essential to understand this: that a prince, and especially a new prince, cannot observe all those things for which men are considered good, for in order to maintain the state he is often obliged to act against his promise, against charity, against humanity, and against religion…”
“And therefore, it is necessary that he have a mind ready to turn itself according to the way the winds of fortune and the changeability of affairs require him; and, as I said above, as long as it is possible, he should not stray from the good, but he should know how to enter into evil when necessity commands” (Chapter XVIII).
“All the states, all the dominions that have had and still have power over men, were and still are either republics or principalities” (first sentence, Chapter 1)