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The Prince was written by Machiavelli as a gift to Lorenzo di Medici, a guidebook of sorts on how, in Machiavelli’s eyes, a prince should go about ruling over his subjects. It is an extremely controversial work, having been banned for a period of time by the Catholic Church, as his radical ideas and his genuine consideration of cruelty as a viable method for keeping one’s subjects loyal yet too fearful to rebel were deemed “demonic”, and this led the Pope to ban Machiavelli’s works. In The Prince, Machiavelli begins by describing different kinds of principalities and how one gains and maintains control over them, followed by discussing the importance of military power in order to keep away any who attempt to invade or take over the principality. Machiavelli then goes on to discuss the qualities a good prince should have in order to be an effective leader, concluding by talking about the different kinds of support a prince can have. 
Machiavelli describes two main types of principalities, Hereditary Principalities, and New Principalities. New Principalities are further split into two, with Entirely new Principalities and Mixed Principalities. He begins by addressing Hereditary ones, as according to him they are the easiest to maintain. A Hereditary Principality is one where the Prince in question’s family has governed over the state for a long time. These states, he claims, are easier  to govern than New Principalities, as the subjects in the state are already used to living under the reign of the Prince’s lineage for a long time, and all the Prince must do to ensure that he and his descendants continue to rule is to keep the same order that his predecessors did, and addressing issues and emergencies appropriately as they arise. In addition, hereditary princes will automatically be beloved by his subjects as they would be accustomed to his family and the way they rule, and he will frustrate them less (Machiavelli, 1531, p 6). 
New and mixed principalities are rather similar, but there are some differences. New principalities are those wherein the prince assumes power in a state that was previously free, that is, states that are not used to being governed by a monarch. Mixed principalities are similar, in the sense that they are new principalities that fell into the hands of the prince’s lineage before he assumes power, making it a mix between a new and hereditary principality. The difficulties for a prince will arise if he is governing a new or mixed principality. This is because in these states, the people are used to a frequent change in leadership, believing that each change is improving the state by getting a new leader. Therefore, according to Machiavelli, it follows that the subjects would find no problem in rising up against the prince. On occasion, it happens that the state that the prince acquires may be situated in another country, or have a different language or set of customs to his own. This, Machiavelli states makes it entirely more difficult for a prince to maintain power over principalities of this sort, as the language barrier and physical distance make it challenging for the prince to be as involved with these states as he should in order to be an effective ruler and maintain power over said state. Thus, it follows that the solution for this distance would be for the prince to move in to the distant state, allowing his presence to give him a firmer grasp over it. Being present in the actual state is advantageous as because the prince lives there, he is able to deal with pressing issues that arise in the community immediately, without having to wait to send orders and receive updates from a messenger. Closing the distance would make him more effective in dealing with difficult situations as if he were to rely on a messenger to relay information back and forth, it could easily take days to deliver such messages, and the prince in relying on this system risks the situation escalating before the messenger actually arrives with the message, reaching such a grave point that the situation cannot be resolved. Additionally, if the prince inhabits the new foreign principality, he eliminates the danger of his representatives and officials becoming too power-hungry and coming up with their own orders, as well as winning the affections of his subjects by displaying such a dedication to the state that he is willing to pack up and move to said state just so that he can give the people the best leadership that he can (Machiavelli, 1531, pp 7-9). 
Machiavelli’s above insights in The Prince may seem a little violent but somewhat reasonable, however the controversy around Machiavelli’s political thought comes from his ideas on how a prince should behave in order to maintain his power over the state, ideas that challenged the traditional catholic morality of his time, and led to the general characterisation of Machiavelli as an evil man and the banning of his works. The controversy here begins with Machiavelli questioning if it is better for a leader to be loved or feared by his subjects, that is, which quality will allow the prince to be a more effective ruler. Ideally, he writes, a leader should be both, having the affection of his subjects so that they trust him to govern them and enjoy his reign, but also inciting fear into his subjects so that they do not dare to cross him. However, this ideal state is immensely difficult to achiever, and thus Machiavelli advises that the prince stick with the more effective option, that is, to be feared. Fear is the better option of the two because if one is loved, one’s subjects will still be compelled to rebel. If the prince is feared, on the other hand, then his subjects will not dare to try to overthrow him as they will be in fear of the consequences (Machiavelli, 1531, p 65). 
Machiavelli makes an example of Cesare Borgia, an Italian Duke known for his ruthlessness, to illustrate his ideal cruel prince. Cesare Borgia was pivotal to Machiavelli’s political thought, and even inspired him to write The Prince. Borgia was most well known for employing a brutal governor, Don Ramiro d’Orco, who treated his citizens with unbelievable cruelty. To remedy this, and to show the people that ultimately, he was in control, Borgia had d’Orco sliced in half and displayed in the square for all to see, in a display of such sheer power that his subjects would not try and rise up against him. This, for Machiavelli, a clear example of how to effectively rule over a state, and an indicator that keeping one’s subjects in fear will deter them from rebellion. A good prince should not completely disregard cruelty in favour of traditional morality, rather he should possess some cruelty as it encourages his subjects to be fearful, and as a result, loyal to the prince out of fear that they would be too afraid of him to cross him. However, it is not to be said that Machiavelli thinks the ideal prince should be a malevolent vicious ruler, as too much cruelty is also a danger to the prince’s state. A good prince must assert his brutality in such a way as to not make his subjects hate him. He must not be ruthless, rather he should be stern, and his cruel actions must always be justified and never too drastic for the situation at hand.

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