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Word Count: 592
Niccolo Machiavelli tells of the methods that have been the most successful in gaining and maintaining power in non-democratic governments in his classic novel The Prince Through a meticulous analysis of political history up to his point in time he tells of the political strategies that had worked for rulers time and time again and also of those that had failed Machiavelli maintains that any opposition to a rulers power should be disposed of He gives the example of Agathocles who had his army quickly and ruthlessly killed the senate of Syracuse and all of the other powerful people in the city so that he could easily take control with no one to oppose him Machiavelli does not glorify these actions He merely states that they work Machiavelli also put a great value on having a military made up of citizens of the state rather than mercenaries He concluded that a citizens army has more to lose if defeated and more to gain if victorious A citizens army is also more likely to be loyal to its ruler while mercenaries fight purely for profit At the moment it becomes more profitable to take some other course of action than to follow the orders of their employer mercenaries will do so Machiavelli cites several examples where having an army of mercenaries limited the capabilities of the states military King Louis XI employed Swiss mercenaries who fought along side his own troops In time the French troops were so accustomed to fighting with the Swiss that they felt they couldnt be victorious without them Machiavelli also gave some examples of times when mercenaries actually turned on their employers such as the Carthaginians mercenaries that turned on them after they fought the Romans Machiavelli said that it was critical for a ruler to be constantly thinking of the art of war He should come to know the landscape of his own country in order to know the
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