CONCERNING HEREDITARY PRINCIPALITIES
I will leave out all discussion on republics, inasmuch as in another
place I have written of them at length, and will address myself only
to principalities. In doing so I will keep to the order indicated
above, and discuss how such principalities are to be ruled and
I say at once there are fewer difficulties in holding hereditary
states, and those long accustomed to the family of their prince, than
new ones; for it is sufficient only not to transgress the customs of
his ancestors, and to deal prudently with circumstances as they arise,
for a prince of average powers to maintain himself in his state,
unless he be deprived of it by some extraordinary and excessive force;
and if he should be so deprived of it, whenever anything sinister
happens to the usurper, he will regain it.
We have in Italy, for example, the Duke of Ferrara, who could not have
withstood the attacks of the Venetians in '84, nor those of Pope
Julius in '10, unless he had been long established in his dominions.
For the hereditary prince has less cause and less necessity to offend;
hence it happens that he will be more loved; and unless extraordinary
vices cause him to be hated, it is reasonable to expect that his
subjects will be naturally well disposed towards him; and in the
antiquity and duration of his rule the memories and motives that make
for change are lost, for one change always leaves the toothing for
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