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 are reasons Machiavelli cited for a group of people leaving their native country to seek a new home?

2. What is the main point Machiavelli investigates as he prepares to discuss the affects of strong Princes and weak Princes?

3. 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?

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

5. Reviewing earlier chapters of "The Discourses", why would Machiavelli consider long wars in foreign lands important?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why does Machiavelli report that the Roman Senate decided to pay a public stipend to the soldiers in the army?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. What does Machiavelli recommend to a Prince about reform of a city or a province that he has taken?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

"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.

Essay Topic 2

In Book 3, Sections 43 and 46, Machiavelli details how customs are handed down in Cities and through families. Give examples from your personal experiences that support statements from the two chapters. If Machiavelli was alive today, how would he evaluate the qualities of customs that are handed down in modern American Cities and families? Use statements from the book to support your assertions.

Essay Topic 3

Machiavelli advises on dealing with evil challenging a State in Book 1, Sections 33. What does Machiavelli consider evil? Support what you find as his definition with statements from all of "The Discourses". Do you agree with his assessments? Why or why not? In your response give documented support from other political or moral thinkers.

(see the answer keys)

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