These ideas are actually in direct contradiction to the prevailing religious philosophies of the time. Machiavelli does not seed men judged by God, or even by other men -- but instead by whether the deed one sought was accomplished or not; and if that deed has eventual ramifications that may be good. This Prince may come to power through evil means from himself, from others, or through historical forces. However, Princes who come to power based on criminal acts will not last in their position, nor will they be perceived as innately a leader. Cruelty, which by its very nature is evil, may be applied once at the outset and then only when the greater good of the subjects demands it.
In seizing a state, the Prince ought to examine closely into all those injuries which it is necessary for him to inflict (evil), and to do them all...
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