Machiavelli's The Prince

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Machiavelli’s The Prince: Generosity or Miserliness In Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince (1513), Machiavelli (1469-1527) gives advice to people, particularly princes, on how they might act with/towards others (specifically a prince’s subjects). He also discusses how the prince’s actions might effect how his subjects look upon him. Two of the many actions that he talks about that the prince may follow include: generosity and miserliness. Machiavelli warns princes that they should not be very generous because then the people will only like them because of it. Instead he advises princes to be misers. Even though in the beginning the people may despise him for being “stingy”, in the end they will be thankful and they will soon think of the prince as being generous. Machiavelli states “it would be good to be considered generous” (41), however, when one is extremely generous the receivers look at the gift as a must. The receivers stop thanking and instead believe that they deserve the generosity from the prince. The prince then keeps giving. Machiavelli stresses: And so, if a prince wants to maintain his reputation for generosity among men, it is necessary for him not to neglect any possible means of lavish display; in so doing such a prince will always use up all his resources and he will be obliged, eventually, if he wishes to maintain his reputation for generosity, to burden the people with excessive taxes and to do everything possible to raise funds. (41) Once the prince has to start taking from his subjects they will start to feel hate towards him. They will not even be thankful for anything that they have received in the past. All will be forgotten except for his taking of their money. Soon enough, ironically, the prince “runs the risk of being reproached as a miser” (41). Although a prince may want to be considered as generous, it may be wiser for a
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