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. In Book 1, Section 46, Machiavelli credits the ruin of Republics on citizens who jump from one ambition to another. What was the phrase that Sallust put in the mouth of Caesar that explains how such ambitions begin?

2. What does Machiavelli identify as the easiest way to "...ruin a Republic where the People have authority...."

3. How does Machiavelli suggest that Princes and other leaders deal with acts that offend their citizens?

4. What was an example from Roman history that Machiavelli used to suggest the Plebes possesses greater wisdom than Nobles?

5. What does Machiavelli announce as the purpose of Book Two of "The Discourses" in the preface?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. What acts by governing officials does Machiavelli consider "pernicious" or damaging to the authority of the government?

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

6. Why were the Plebe candidates not suited for the open positions of the Tribunes?

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

8. Why does Machiavelli believe that people who break away from the rule of a Prince have difficulty keeping their freedom?

9. What examples from history does Machiavelli claim offers guidance to leaders?

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

In Machiavelli's characterization of evil against the state and the benefits of the powers of the Roman Caesars, he provides a perspective that defines his view of government and freedom. What is that view? Does it match what you have been taught regarding both and does Machiavelli and what you have learned up to this point match your personal views on government and freedom? Define the similarities and the differences and use documented support from both the book and your educational experiences to support your position.

Essay Topic 2

In Book 1, Section 46, Machiavelli applauds the Roman Plebs for having the wisdom not to elect Plebs to the position of Tribunes. Then in Book 1, Section 47 he applauds the Nobles for the methods they used to manage the decision of the Plebs. How does the context of Machiavelli's report in the two chapters form your opinion of Machiavelli's character, his views of freedom, and his views on corruption? Do you agree with Machiavelli's positions in the two chapters? Why or why not?

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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