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This essay is from Amogh
Published on October 5, 2001

Machiavelli's "The Prince" and Star Wars

The Empire expanded practically the entire galaxy. It consisted of hundreds of systems and thousands of worlds. So what did Palpatine do wrong to lose the ENTIRE thing? Well if you read "The Prince" by Machiavelli, you start to see the things that Palpatine did right and all the things he did wrong. I have condensed a lot, but the highlights of what should be done are there, but I will leave some stuff out because it's not relevant to an entire galaxy.

Chapter 1
Well for starters, get some ground rules down. First of all the Empire is a monarchy (even though it had only one 'king' for a short time). It's not a Republic (obviously). Secondly, the Empire was a newly formed government, though it probably at some time annexed other worlds.

Chapter 2
One of the first things that Machiavelli says is that it is much harder to hold down new empires, because the people are new to the system. Older monarchies are established and so the people pretty much know what's going to happen.

Chapter 3
There are basically three kinds of annexed territories: people who have switched alliances because they think your government is better, those who speak the same language and have the same culture as you, and those who don't speak the same language and don't have the same culture. First of all, in any of these cases, you should always rid the country (or world) of all the current rulers. This leaves the people no hope of re-establishing the old monarchy. This kind of relates to the great Jedi purge Palpatine initiated, it got rid of the last remnants of the old order.

Also, when taking over new worlds, or taking over the government of these new worlds, one should not put garrisons galore on these newly conquered places, instead colonies should be built. Why? Well, if you make garrisons, the people automatically see a difference between them and you. They distrust you because it seems you distrust them. Colonies on the other hand can be formed by taking the land from others who already live there. Care should also be taken not to kill these people but leave them in poverty. When you have colonies it brings the people closer to you because there is a mixing.

The colonies should of course have the same species as the ones you take over and must be loyal to you. Also, colonies can be self sufficient while garrisons are costly to form and keep. The people who you leave in poverty are a very small minority of the population and will tell their tale as they travel. The people will recognize you as being powerful, and will fear having the same done to them, so they will behave. Palpatine obviously set up garrisons and so lost the trust of the people.

Chapter 4
When you conquer a society, the people who are extremely loyal to the other side will be extremely loyal to you, if you do everything right. These loyal countries are harder to conquer, but easier to maintain. Also, if you received help from certain higher up traitors who betrayed their country because of the money you offered or the position, you should take care to destroy them, because they may betray you ...

Chapter 5
There are a couple of basic ways to run a world once you have conquered it. First of all you can despoil and destroy the people, as is sometimes necessary, or you can hire those of that country who are favorable to you to run the world, especially if they were rulers before. One should kill the people when they have lived in a free state, because their sense of freedom is long to leave their memories, and they will destroy you if you don't do them first. If they are used to living under a prince, then using old leadership is best, because they have no great sense of freedom and so cannot hope to attain what they don't know.

Chapter 6
A good prince will study his predecessors, and do what the successful ones did, and learn from the mistakes of those who failed. Having luck on you side is good, but you should get things by your own merit, then the people will respect you. Remember: an unarmed prophet is a LOSER!

Chapter 7
I skipped it.

Chapter 8
(Those who become Princes By Crime)
A Prince can be cruel when necessary. Too much cruelty is a bad thing because the people then start hating you, If you need to be cruel do it fast and with little publicity to establish your power. Doing cruelty for some private advantage is always bad. (Old Palpatine really failed this part!)

Chapter 9
Look out for your people! It is they you have to watch and make sure they have the necessities of life. Most people just want the simple things in life so they can survive. The nobles want more and may even plot against you to get it.

Chapter 10
Have a strong military, it is the foundation of the state, but don't use outside troops to defend yourself.

Chapter 11
I skipped it --> About church states.

Chapter 12
Good arms make good laws. ALWAYS use native troops! Never use mercenaries because as soon as your money runs out, so do they. Plus when faced with the opposing army, they fight for your money, while the native troops fight for their homes and their country, they fight for what is their's. Mercenaries won't die for you and they can be bribed.

Chapter 13
DO NOT use the troops of others! It's dangerous because if they fail, so do you. If they win, they may get the idea that they are better than you, and they will take over your country and kill you, and you'll lose again. Thinking about mixing the troops? BAD IDEA! This makes your troops feel insufficient and you may lose again! The arms of others fail, overburden, or impede you. Its better to lose with your own troops than win the troops of others.

Chapter 14
During peace times, a prince should not let the troops get idle. They should train and study and know their country.

Chapter 15
Ummmmm........No.

Chapter 16
If you have to seem a little cheap in the eyes of the people it's ok! This won't hurt you that much. But what you should do is spend money conquered from other people, that way the people like you and you don't really lose any money. What you want to avoid is taking land from people, people easily forget the death of their father, thetas only one person and it fades through the generations, but taking land lasts in their memory for a while.

Chapter 17
The people should think you to be kind, merciful, pious, and all other great virtues, but be ready to throw off these facades on a moment's notice. Also be careful not to seem too kind, because then the people will use you. Their love is not something you can control, but you can control their fear and so you can rule them.

Chapter 18
A wise prince only keeps his word when the agreement helps him/her. A prince should be a great liar and pretender, and make sure not to get caught.

Chapter 19
In order to protect from conspiracy, you must always keep the people happy. If one does have plans to kill you, he will have no support and will likely not go through with his plans or will get caught. And if he does succeed, he will die because the people won't like him.

Chapter 20
Sometimes building a fortress is a mistake, because the people think you to be a coward, and that you are afraid of them (maybe the Rebels were proud that the Empire had spent so much money on a Death Star - they were recognized as a threat, what a morale booster). Also, don't right off disarm the people, they will again lose your trust and if they are armed they can protect you; they will be your fortress. Another bonus is creating small problems between your people to keep them pre-occupied.

Chapter 21
Make sure to encourage the industries of the masses such as building, farming, and industry. Mingle with all the classes as well so they know you are not a stranger to them.

Chapter 22
A prince must be wise, and so should his/her ministers. There are three kinds of intelligence, no clue, some clue, and what? You want the minister with some idea of what is going on. They should also put the state in front of themselves.

Chapter 23
Allow your minister to give their opinions, but only when you ask then to.

 

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