The Discourses Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. What does Machiavelli recommend to a City that is unable to defend itself, but wants to be protected from anyone who would attack it?
(a) To give itself freely to whomever would defend the city.
(b) Make alliances with powerful Cities.
(c) Train its citizens to form a strong army.
(d) Hire mercenaries.

2. What do fertile areas offer to those who settle there according to Machiavelli?
(a) Resources that will sustain a growing population.
(b) Raw materials that can be sent to sterile areas for manufacturing and refinement.
(c) The ability to affect the economy of sterile areas.
(d) The means by which a city can grow and have the ability to defend themselves.

3. What advice does Machiavelli offer in Book 1, Section 52 to those who want to pursue their ambitions?
(a) "Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make yhou believe that you too can become great."
(b) "Ambition is the last infirmity of Noble minds."
(c) "...(C)onsider the defects and perils which it [presents], and not to undertake it if it should be more dangerous than useful,...."
(d) "He who is blinded by ambition, raises himself to a position whence he cannot mount higher must herafter fall with greatest loss."

4. What did Machiavelli suggest is the advantage of settling in areas that were "sterile" (barren)?
(a) The poverty of resources would require those living there to have less cause for discord.
(b) Barren areas stand at crossroads between fertile areas so they can control trade between prosperous cities.
(c) Residents of sterile areas become more creative and develop technologies that can be sold to more fertile areas.
(d) The isolation from more fertile areas allow for greater freedom.

5. Why does Machiavelli claim that the rule of the Caesars was preferable to the regime of the Decemvirs?
(a) Because under the Caesar, there remained the Tribunes, Consuls, and the Senate, to whom the Caesar remained responsible.
(b) Because Machiavelli believed that the Decemvirs were too lax on punishments for violators of the law.
(c) Because, according to Machiavelli, the Decemvirs did not pursue expansion of the Empire.
(d) Because the Caesars ended Rome's state of continual war.

Short Answer Questions

1. According to Machiavelli, what caused the Roman Republic to form?

2. What does Machiavelli consider an important tool in maintaining the order of a Republic?

3. What does "Crescit interea Roma Albae ruinis" mean?

4. What historical records did Machiavelli use to support his point for keeping two important items out of peril?

5. How does Machiavelli expect a city can keep its freedom after a weak Prince follows an excellent Prince?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Machiavelli recommend that any organization maintain itself by frequently renewing its founding principals?

2. Why doesn't Machiavelli expect promises made under force to be kept?

3. Why does Machiavelli advise that a Prince "temporize" a perceived evil in his State?

4. What is the advice that Machiavelli gives to Princes who take possessions from another Prince?

5. Why does Machiavelli consider impetuosity and audacity to often be successful for a Prince to take a province that belongs to another Prince?

6. What does Machiavelli claim to be the practice of writers of history who, "...so obey the fortune of the winners...?"

7. What does Machiavelli consider to be the worst example that can be committed in a Republic?

8. What does Machiavelli advise those who seek to change a Republic?

9. Why does Machiavelli devote his longest section of "The Discourses" to discussing conspiracy?

10. What are two points that you can take from Book Three, Section 13 to suggest that Machiavelli believes that it is better for a Prince to have a strong army badly captained rather than a bad army strongly captained?

(see the answer keys)

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