The Prince: Novel Summary: Chapters 1-2

Chapter 1: This short chapter lays the groundwork for Machiavellis book.  All kinds of authority, he says, can be divided into two large categories: republics and principalities.  Principalities can be either hereditary-those passed down from father to son-or they can be new-states acquired through military force or political fortune.  Machiavelli chooses not to address the subject of republics.
Chapter 2: Machiavelli continues by admitting that hereditary principalities are much easier to govern than those that are newly acquired since the prince who rules by inheritance simply has to follow in the paths of his ancestors.  The Duke of Ferrara is an example of such a prince.  Though he was attacked by outside forces on two separate occasions, the fact that he was a hereditary prince placed him on good standing with the people of his city.