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But we now come to the case where a citizen becomes prince not through crime or intolerable violence, but by the favour of his fellow-citizens, which may be called a civic principality. To arrive at this position depends not entirely on worth or entirely on fortune, but rather on cunning assisted by fortune. One attains it by help of popular favour or by the favour of the aristocracy. For in every city these two opposite parties are to be found, arising from the desire of the populace to avoid the oppression of the great, and the desire of the great to command and oppress the people. And from these two opposing interests arises in the city one of three effects: either absolute government, liberty, or license. The former is created either by the populace or the nobility depending on the relative opportunities of the two parties; for when the nobility see that they are unable to resist the people they unite in creating one of their number prince, so as to be able to carry out their own designs under the shadow of his authority. The populace, on the other hand, when unable to resist the nobility, endeavour to create a prince in order to be protected by his authority. He who becomes prince by help of the nobility has greater

difficulty in maintaining his power than he who is