"If The Prince resembles a guidebook based primarily on empirical
observations, Machiavelli wrote the Discourses as a commentary on Livy's work on
Roman history. However, both books include empirical observations and historical
generalizations. Machiavelli himself does not make a sharp distinction between
the two methods of inquiry, as he thinks that all ages are fundamentally
similar. He thinks we can use both methods to teach ourselves the unchanging
laws of the political universe. When we have understood these laws, we can use
our understanding in political life to achieve our goals.
The book is strictly speaking three books in one. In Book I Machiavelli
focuses on the internal structure of the republic. Book II is about matters of
warfare. Book III is perhaps most similar to the teachings of The Prince, as it
concerns individual leadership. The three books combined provide guidance to
those trying to establish or reform a republic."
— Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
I. Of the Beginnings of Cities in general, and in
particular of that of Rome.
II. Of the various kinds of Government; and to
which of them the Roman Commonwealth belonged
III. Of the Accidents which
led in Rome to the creation of Tribunes of the People; whereby the Republic was
made more perfect
IV. That the Dissensions between the Senate and Commons of
Rome, made Rome free and powerful
V. Whether the Guardianship of public
Freedom is safer in the hands of the Commons or of the Nobles; and whether those
who seek to acquire Power or they who seek to maintain it are the greater cause
VI. Whether it was possible in Rome to contrive such a
Government as would have composed the Differences between the Commons and the
VII. That to preserve Liberty in a State there must exist the Right
VIII. That Calumny is as hurtful in a Commonwealth as the power
to accuse is useful.
IX. That to give new Institutions to a Commonwealth, or
to reconstruct old Institutions on an entirely new basis, must be the work of
X. That in proportion as the Founder of a Kingdom or Commonwealth
merits Praise, he who founds a Tyranny deserves Blame.
XI. Of the Religion
of the Romans.