Machiavelli talks about two kinds of kingdoms:
- Those acquired by one's own arms and prowess.
- Those acquired with the help of fortune and foreign arms.
Machiavelli claims the first one creates the strongest kingdom.
"[Those] who become rulers by prowess...
acquire their principalities with difficulty
but hold them with ease."
But those who are simply handed the keys to the kingdom, Machiavelli writes:
"Such rulers rely on the goodwill and fortune of those who have elevated them,
and both these are capricious, unstable things.
They do not know how to maintain their position,
and they cannot do so."