The Discourses Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. When Machiavelli writes, "For sometimes of necessity our judgment is the truth, as human affairs are always in motion, either ascending or descending," what is he writing about what he believes about truth?

2. What is another method that Machiavelli reports leaders use to offend their citizens?

3. Why does Machiavelli suggest wars should be quick with limited damage to the conquered City?

4. Why does Machiavelli suggest that a Prince keep his conquered territories disunited from the City over which he has his power?

5. According to Machiavelli, what is the first thing that Citizens seek when starting on the path of chasing their ambitions?

Short Essay Questions

1. From what did Niccolo Machiavelli make the present that he sent to Zanobi Buondelmonti and Cosimo Rucellai?

2. What does Machiavelli claim proves the Romans' love for liberty?

3. What kind of Prince does Machiavelli consider to be weak?

4. What does Machiavelli mean when he advises that evil in a State be "temporized"?

5. What does Machiavelli recommend to be done if one wants to establish a Republic where it does not exist?

6. What does Machiavelli mean when he uses the term "virtu" for a Prince?

7. Why should a Prince measure his forces and govern by his decisions based upon them before he enters a war?

8. Why did Machiavelli praise the Plebes for refusing to choose their peers for Tribunes for which the Nobility allowed Plebes candidacy?

9. How does Machiavelli explain that a City grows either through love or through force?

10. Why did Machiavelli consider the naming of a Caesar (dictator) over Rome was beneficial to the Empire?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Machiavelli is critical of ambition in Book 1, Section 46. Do you agree with Machiavelli's criticisms? Why or why not? What is your view of ambition and how does individual freedom affect ambition?

Essay Topic 2

Machiavelli details the difference between Excellent and Weak princes in Book One, Section 19. What is your position on Machiavelli's differentiation? Provide the language from the section that helps define you view and use support from history or current events that supports your position.

Essay Topic 3

"The Discourses" were originally written as a letter to two Italian politicians at the time. Explain how that intended audience of this letter shaped the focus and tone of the text. What does Machiavelli's recommendations throughout the book say of the character of the intended audience? Give examples from the book to support your assumptions.

(see the answer keys)

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