The Prince Quotes on Ruling, Philosophy and an Ideal Prince

Famously known as the “father of modern political theory”, Renaissance writer Niccolo Machiavelli penned The Prince in the early 16th century. This book was a gift to Lorenzo de Medici and was intended to guide him and other new princes and royals. Let’s look at 27 The Prince Quotes that largely talk about politics, philosophy, and other parts of life.

27 The Prince Quotes That Teach You Politics

The Prince Quotes That Are Inspirational

#1. “Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

#2. “Never was anything great achieved without danger.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

#3. “Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

The Prince Quotes on Philosophy

#4. “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

#5. “Because there are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehend; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, the third is useless.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

#6. “How we live is so different from how we ought to live that he who studies what ought to be done rather than what is done will learn the way to his downfall rather than to his preservation.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

#7. “A man who is used to acting in one way never changes; he must come to ruin when the times, in changing, no longer are in harmony with his ways.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

#8. “A prudent man should always follow in the path trodden by great men and imitate those who are most excellent, so that if he does not attain to their greatness, at any rate he will get some tinge of it.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

#9. “He who builds on the people, builds on the mud.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

The Prince Quotes on Deception

#10. “Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

#11. “He who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

The Prince Quotes on Love

#12. “It is much safer to be feared than loved because love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

#13. “And here comes in the question whether it is better to be loved rather than feared, or feared rather than loved. It might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both; but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

The Prince Quotes on Politics

#14. “He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

#15. “The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

#16. “Nature creates few men brave, industry and training makes many.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

The Prince Quotes on Mankind

#17. “Of mankind we may say in general they are fickle, hypocritical, and greedy of gain.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

#18. “It must be considered that 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.” ― Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

The Prince Quotes on an Ideal Prince

#19. “He who becomes a Prince through the favor of the people should always keep on good terms with them; which it is easy for him to do, since all they ask is not to be oppressed.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

#20. “A prince must not have any other object nor any other thought, but war, its institutions, and its discipline; because that is the only art befitting one who commands.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

#21. “Therefore, it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them. And I shall dare to say this also, that to have them and always to observe them is injurious, and that to appear to have them is useful; to appear merciful, faithful, humane, religious, upright, and to be so, but with a mind so framed that should you require not to be so, you may be able and know how to change to the opposite.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

The Prince Quotes on Wisdom

#22. “Wisdom consists of knowing how to distinguish the nature of trouble, and in choosing the lesser evil.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

#23. “The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

#24. “Therefore, it is necessary to be a fox to discover the snares and a lion to terrify the wolves.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

The Prince Quotes That Make You Wonder

#25. “The vulgar crowd always is taken by appearances, and the world consists chiefly of the vulgar.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

#26. “There is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

#27. “If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince


Italian writer Niccolo Machiavelli is the proponent of modern political thinking. His work embodies ideas that promote and support politics played through amoral means―deception, scheming, and strategy. The Prince quotes continue to propagate many political thinkers and schools of thought even today.

Image source: The Prince photo from