WHETHER FORTRESSES AND OTHER THINGS WHICH
PRINCES OFTEN MAKE ARE USEFUL OR INJURIOUS
Some princes, in order to securely hold their possessions, have disarmed their subjects, some others have kept their subject lands divided, into parts, others have fomented enmities against themselves, others have endeavoured to win over those whom they suspected at the commencement of their rule: some have constructed fortresses, others have ruined and destroyed them. And although one cannot pronounce a definite judgment as to these things without going into the particulars of the state to which such a deliberation is to be applied, still I will speak in such a broad way as the matter will permit of.
A new prince has never been known to disarm his subjects, on the contrary, when he has found them disarmed he has always armed them, for by arming them these arms become your own, those that you suspected become faithful and those that were faithful remain so, and from being merely subjects become your partisans. And since all the subjects cannot be armed, when you benefit those that you arm, you can deal more safely with the others; and this different treatment that they notice renders your men more obliged to you, the
others will excuse you, judging that those have