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. What does Machiavelli believe to the nature of men that causes them to either fight from ambition or from necessity?

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

3. What did Machiavelli suggest is the advantage of settling in areas that were "sterile" (barren)?

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

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

Short Essay Questions

1. In the title of Book 1, Section 8, what does Machiavelli mean with the phrase, "...so much so calumnies are pernicious...?"

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

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

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

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

6. Why does Machiavelli challenge Cities to punish citizens with respected reputations when they commit wrong acts?

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

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

9. What are the two reasons that Machiavelli gives for his opinion that the courts (Faculty of Accusing) are the most necessary and useful authority to guard liberty in a City?

10. What kind of Prince does Machiavelli consider to be Excellent?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In Book 1, Sections 21-23 Machiavelli begins a repeated focus on the role of the military in maintaining a Free Republic by focusing on making sound decisions on the cost of a military to a Republic. Identify quotes from Machiavelli that detail Machiavelli's advice on the use of resources on the military, whether or not his advice is being followed today, and what you consider to be the consequences of the current decisions regarding the modern costs of the military.

Essay Topic 2

At the beginning of Book 2, Machiavelli begins investigating what he considers to be virtuous touches on "virtu" throughout the rest of "The Discourses". Find two characterizations of what Machiavelli considers "virtu" with which you agree and two with which you do not. Explain your positions in each case and give examples of how your choices have been proven through history.

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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