Quotations by Machiavelli, Niccolo


God is merciful. He will not do everything and thus take away our free will and that share of glory that belongs to us.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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People are fickle by nature; and it is simple to convince them of something, but difficult to hold them in that conviction.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Men are very apt to deceive themselves in generals, less so than in particulars.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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[Ambition] is so powerful a passion in the human breast, that however high we reach we are never satisfied.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses (1517)
Added on 22-Apr-15 | Last updated 22-Apr-15
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When the act accuses him, the result should excuse him.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses, 1.19 (1517) [tr. Detmold (1940)]
Added on 12-Sep-11 | Last updated 12-Sep-11
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For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearance, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses, 1.25 (1517)
Added on 6-Jun-14 | Last updated 6-Jun-14
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There is no better indication of a man’s character than the company he keeps.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses, 3.34 (1517) [tr. C. Detmold (1940)]
Added on 6-Feb-09 | Last updated 6-Feb-09
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It is not titles that honor men, but men honor the titles.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses, 3.38 (1517) [tr. Detmold (1940)]
Added on 4-Apr-14 | Last updated 4-Apr-14
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Where the very safety of the country depends upon the resolution to be taken, no considerations of justice or injustice, humanity or cruelty, nor of glory or shame, should be allowed to prevail. But putting all other considerations aside, the only question should be, “What course will save the life and liberty of the country?”

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses, 3.41 (1517) [tr. C. Detmold (1940)]
Added on 11-May-09 | Last updated 4-Feb-15
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Any manifest error on the part of an enemy should make us suspect some stratagem.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses, 3.48 (1517) [tr. Detmold (1940)]
Added on 22-Apr-11 | Last updated 22-Apr-11
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Bad rulers … are in constant fear lest others are conspiring to inflict upon them the punishment which they are conscious of deserving.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses, 3.6 (1517) [tr. Detmold (1940)]
Added on 21-Aug-13 | Last updated 21-Aug-13
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Necessity may force you to do unto the prince that which you see the prince about to do to you.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses, 3.6 (1517) [tr. Detmold (1950)]

See the Bible, Matthew 7:12.

Added on 25-Oct-10 | Last updated 25-Oct-10
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The envious nature of men, so prompt to blame and so slow to praise, makes the discovery and introduction of any new principles and systems as dangerous as almost the exploration of unknown seas and continents.

macchiavelli-new-systems-and-discoveries-wist_info-quote

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses, Book 1, Introduction (1517) [tr. Detmold (1940)]
Added on 11-Nov-16 | Last updated 11-Nov-16
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We can have no better clue to a man’s character than the company he keeps.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses, Book 3, ch. 34 (1517) [tr. Thomson (1883)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.: "There is no better indication of a man's character than the company which he keeps."
Added on 18-Jul-17 | Last updated 18-Jul-17
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Whoever desires to found a state and give it laws must start with assuming that all men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature, whenever they may find occasion for it.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses, Introduction to First Book (1517) [tr. Detmold (1940)]

Alt. trans.: "It is necessary for him who lays out a state and arranges laws for it to presuppose that all men are evil and that they are always going to act according to the wickedness of their spirits whenever they have free scope." [Discourse upon the First Ten Books of Livy, Book 1, ch. 3 (1513-18) [tr. Gilbert]]
Added on 19-Sep-11 | Last updated 21-Apr-17
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Men are so simple and so ready to obey present necessities, that one who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Prince, “In What Way Princes Must Keep Faith”
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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One ought to be both feared and loved, but as it is difficult for the two to go togeher it is much safer to be feared than loved, if one of the two has to be wanting. … Love is held by a chain of obligation, which men being selfish, is broken whenever it serves their purpose, but fear is maintained by a dread of punishment which never fails.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Prince, ch. 17 (1513) [tr. Ricci (1903)]
Added on 3-Oct-11 | Last updated 3-Oct-11
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Men are so simple and so ready to obey present necessities, that one who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Prince, ch. 18 (1513) [tr. L. Ricci (1903)]
Added on 20-Jul-09 | Last updated 20-Jul-09
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Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are, and those few dare not oppose themselves to the opinion of the many, who have the majesty of the state to defend them; and in the actions of all men, and especially of princes, which it is not prudent to challenge, one judges by the result. For that reason, let a prince have the credit of conquering and holding his state, the means will always be considered honest, and he will be praised by everybody because the vulgar are always taken by what a thing seems to be and by what comes of it.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Prince, ch. 18 (1513) [tr. Marriott (1908)]
    (Source)

Origin of the paraphrase "The ends justify the means," which is generally attributed to Machiavelli.
Added on 6-Dec-17 | Last updated 6-Dec-17
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It is well to seem merciful, faithful, humane, sincere, religious, and also to be so; but you must have the mind so disposed so that when it is needful to be otherwise you may be able to change to the opposite qualities.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Prince, ch. 18 (1513) [tr. Ricci (1903)]
Added on 26-Sep-11 | Last updated 26-Sep-11
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The first impression that one gets of a ruler and of his brains is from seeing the men that he has about him.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Prince, ch. 22 (1513) [tr. Ricci (1903)]
Added on 28-Aug-13 | Last updated 28-Aug-13
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Men must be either caressed or annihilated; they will revenge themselves for small injuries, but cannot do so for great ones; the injury therefore that we do to a man must be such that we need not fear his vengeance.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Prince, ch. 3 (1513) [tr. Ricci (1903)]
Added on 10-Oct-11 | Last updated 10-Oct-11
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There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favor; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have actual experience of it.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Prince, ch. 6 (1513) [tr. Ricci (1903)]

Alt. trans.: "Nothing is more difficult to transact, nor more dubious to succeed, nor more dangerous to manage, than to make oneself chief to introduce new orders. Because the introducer has for enemies all those whom the old orders benefit, and has for lukewarm defenders all those who might benefit from the new orders. [tr. Codevilla]
Added on 24-Oct-13 | Last updated 21-Apr-17
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