Before all else, be armed.
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.
The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.
Of mankind we may say in general they are fickle, hypocritical, and greedy of gain.
Never was anything great achieved without danger.
The fact is that a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous.
One change always leaves the way open for the establishment of others.
There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.
There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.
There is no surer sign of decay in a country than to see the rites of religion held in contempt.
It is much more secure to be feared than to be loved.
It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.
The one who adapts his policy to the times prospers, and likewise that the one whose policy clashes with the demands of the times does not.
For among other evils caused by being disarmed, it renders you contemptible; which is one of those disgraceful things which a prince must guard against.
Hatred is gained as much by good works as by evil.
Men are so simple and yield so readily to the desires of the moment that he who will trick will always find another who will suffer to be tricked.
I'm not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.
A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise.
We cannot attribute to fortune or virtue that which is achieved without either.
The question is, then, do we try to make things easy on ourselves or do we try to make things easy on our customers, whoever they may be?
When you disarm the people, you commence to offend them and show that you distrust them either through cowardice or lack of confidence, and both of these opinions generate hatred.
It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles.
The wise man does at once what the fool does finally.
Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great.
If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.