The Prince Chapter 24
Why the princes of Italy have lost their states
The exploits of a new prince are more closely watched than that of a hereditary prince. Therefore, if a new prince succeeds in his endeavors through sound laws, arms, and examples, he will win double glory for himself. Just as a hereditary prince who loses his kingdom through folly garners double disgrace.
The princes of Italy have lost their kingdoms due to their reliance upon mercenary or auxiliary armies. They have kept neither the favor of the people nor containment of the nobles. They cannot blame fortune but only their own defects. They have resorted to the hope that if deprived of power, they will be brought back by those unsatisfied with the new rulers. Machiavelli states that such thinking is cowardly and that only those methods that come from one's own resourcefulness are good, certain, and enduring.