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Niccolo Machiavelli
The Prince 05
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CHAPTER V

CONCERNING THE WAY TO GOVERN CITIES OR PRINCIPALITIES WHICH
LIVED UNDER THEIR OWN LAWS BEFORE THEY WERE ANNEXED

Whenever those states which have been acquired as stated have been
accustomed to live under their own laws and in freedom, there are
three courses for those who wish to hold them: the first is to ruin
them, the next is to reside there in person, the third is to permit
them to live under their own laws, drawing a tribute, and establishing
within it an oligarchy which will keep it friendly to you. Because
such a government, being created by the prince, knows that it cannot
stand without his friendship and interest, and does it utmost to
support him; and therefore he who would keep a city accustomed to
freedom will hold it more easily by the means of its own citizens than
in any other way.

There are, for example, the Spartans and the Romans. The Spartans held
Athens and Thebes, establishing there an oligarchy, nevertheless they
lost them. The Romans, in order to hold Capua, Carthage, and Numantia,
dismantled them, and did not lose them. They wished to hold Greece as
the Spartans held it, making it free and permitting its laws, and did
not succeed. So to hold it they were compelled to dismantle many
cities in the country, for in truth there is no safe way to retain
them otherwise than by ruining them. And he who becomes master of a
city accustomed to freedom and does not destroy it, may expect to be
destroyed by it, for in rebellion it has always the watchword of
liberty and its ancient privileges as a rallying point, which neither
time nor benefits will ever cause it to forget. And whatever you may
do or provide against, they never forget that name or their privileges
unless they are disunited or dispersed, but at every chance they
immediately rally to them, as Pisa after the hundred years she had
been held in bondage by the Florentines.

But when cities or countries are accustomed to live under a prince,
and his family is exterminated, they, being on the one hand accustomed
to obey and on the other hand not having the old prince, cannot agree
in making one from amongst themselves, and they do not know how to
govern themselves. For this reason they are very slow to take up arms,
and a prince can gain them to himself and secure them much more
easily. But in republics there is more vitality, greater hatred, and
more desire for vengeance, which will never permit them to allow the
memory of their former liberty to rest; so that the safest way is to
destroy them or to reside there.


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