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August 8, 2007

Hinterland Diary

John Stoehr

Maybe he wasn't so bad after all . . .

"A prince should also show his esteem for talent, actively encouraging able men, and honouring those who excel in their profession. Then he must encourage his citizens so that they can go peaceably about their business, whether it be trade or agriculture or any other human occupation. One man should not be afraid of improving his possessions, lest they be taken away from him, or another deterred by high taxes from starting a new business. Rather, the prince should be ready to reward men who want to do these things and those who endeavor in any way to increase the prosperity of their city or their state. As well as this, at suitable times of the year, he should entertain the people with shows and festivities [italics mine]. And since every city is divided into guilds and family groups, he should pay attention to these, meet them from time to time, and give an example of courtesy and munificence while all the time, nonetheless, fully maintaining the dignity of his position, because this should never be wanting in anything."

From "How a prince must act to win honor," chapter 21 of Niccolo Machiavelli's "The Prince," translated by George Bull.

Posted by John Stoehr at August 8, 2007 6:58 AM