Divide and rule
Divide and rule (or divide and conquer, from
Latin dīvide et imperā)
in politics and sociology is gaining and maintaining power by breaking
up larger concentrations of power into pieces that individually have
less power than the one implementing the strategy. The concept refers
to a strategy that breaks up existing power structures, and especially
prevents smaller power groups from linking up, causing rivalries and
fomenting discord among the people.
Traiano Boccalini cites "divide et impera" in La bilancia politica
as a common principle in politics. The use of this technique is meant
to empower the sovereign to control subjects, populations, or factions
of different interests, who collectively might be able to oppose his
Machiavelli identifies a similar application to military
strategy, advising in Book VI of The Art of War (Dell'arte della
guerra), that a Captain should endeavor with every art to divide
the forces of the enemy, either by making him suspicious of his men in
whom he trusted, or by giving him cause that he has to separate his
forces, and, because of this, become weaker.
The maxim divide et impera has been attributed to Philip II of
Macedon, and together with the maxim divide ut regnes was utilised by
the Roman ruler Caesar and the French emperor Napoleon.
The strategy, but not the phrase, applies in many ancient cases: the
example of Gabinius exists, parting the Jewish nation into five
conventions, reported by
Flavius Josephus in Book I, 169-170 of The
Wars of the Jews (De bello Judaico).
Strabo also reports in
Geography, 8.7.3 that the
Achaean League was gradually dissolved
under the Roman possession of the whole of Macedonia, owing to them
not dealing with the several states in the same way, but wishing to
preserve some and to destroy others.
The strategy of division and rule has been attributed to sovereigns,
Louis XI to the Habsburgs.
Edward Coke denounces it in
Chapter I of the Fourth Part of the Institutes, reporting that when it
was demanded by the Lords and Commons what might be a principal motive
for them to have good success in Parliament, it was answered: "Eritis
insuperabiles, si fueritis inseparabiles. Explosum est illud
diverbium: Divide, & impera, cum radix & vertex imperii in
obedientium consensus rata sunt." [You would be insuperable if you
were inseparable. This proverb, Divide and rule, has been rejected,
since the root and the summit of authority are confirmed by the
consent of the subjects.] On the other hand, in a minor variation, Sir
Francis Bacon wrote the phrase "separa et impera" in a letter to James
I of 15 February 1615.
James Madison made this recommendation in a
Thomas Jefferson of 24 October 1787, which summarized the
thesis of The Federalist#10: "Divide et impera, the reprobated
axiom of tyranny, is under certain (some) qualifications, the only
policy, by which a republic can be administered on just principles."
In Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch by Immanuel Kant (1795),
Appendix one, Divide et impera is the third of three political maxims,
the others being Fac et excusa (Act now, and make excuses later) and
Si fecisti, nega (when you commit a crime, deny it).
Elements of this technique involve:
creating or encouraging divisions among the subjects to prevent
alliances that could challenge the sovereign
aiding and promoting those who are willing to cooperate with the
fostering distrust and enmity between local rulers
encouraging meaningless expenditures that reduce the capability for
political and military spending
Historically, this strategy was used in many different ways by empires
seeking to expand their territories.
The concept is also mentioned as a strategy for market action in
economics to get the most out of the players in a competitive market.
Psychopathy in the workplace
3 Historical examples
3.2.1 Mongolian Empire
3.2.2 Indian subcontinent
3.2.3 Middle East
4 See also
6 External links
Main articles: Narcissism, Narcissistic parent, and
Narcissism in the
A primary strategy the narcissist uses to assert control, particularly
within his family, is to create divisions among individuals. This
weakens and isolates them, making it easier for the narcissist to
manipulate and dominate. Some are favoured, others are scapegoated.
Such dynamics can play out in a workplace setting.
Psychopathy in the workplace
Psychopathy in the workplace
Clive R. Boddy found that "divide and conquer" was a common strategy
by corporate psychopaths used as a smokescreen to help consolidate and
advance their grip on power in the corporate hierarchy.
The divide and conquer strategy was used by foreign countries in parts
Africa during the colonial and post-colonial period.
Burundi in a colonial capacity.
Germany used the strategy of divide and conquer by placing members of
the already dominant
Tutsi minority in positions of power. When
Belgium took over colonial rule in 1916, the
were rearranged according to race instead of occupation. Belgium
defined "Tutsi" as anyone with more than ten cows or a long nose,
while "Hutu" meant someone with less than ten cows and a broad nose.
The socioeconomic divide between Tutsis and Hutus continued after
independence and was a major factor in the Rwandan Genocide.
During British rule of
Nigeria from 1900 to 1960, different regions
were frequently reclassified for administrative purposes. The conflict
between the Igbo and Hausa made it easier for the British to
consolidate their power in the region.
While the Mongols imported Central Asian Muslims to serve as
administrators in China, the Mongols also sent Han Chinese and Khitans
from China to serve as administrators over the Muslim population in
Bukhara in Central Asia, using foreigners to curtail the power of the
local peoples of both lands. Pakistan and India were also divided by
The strategy of "Divide and Rule" was employed by most imperial powers
in Indian subcontinent. The British and French backed various Indian
states in conflicts between each other, both as a means of undermining
each other's influence and consolidating their authority.
Further, it is argued that the British used the strategy to destroy
the harmony between various religions and use it for their
benefits; a Times Literary Supplement review suggests that
although this was broadly the case a more nuanced approach might be
closer to the facts.
Sykes-Picot Agreement is an example of a 'divide and rule'
Romans entered Macedonia from the south and defeated King Perseus of
Macedon in the
Battle of Pydna
Battle of Pydna in 168 BC. Macedonia was then divided
into four republics that were heavily restricted from relations with
one another and other Hellenic states. A ruthless purge occurred, with
allegedly anti-Roman citizens being denounced by their compatriots and
deported in large numbers.
During the Gallic Wars,
Julius Caesar was able to use a divide and
rule strategy to easily defeat the militarily strong Gauls. By the
Gauls united under Vercingetorix, it was already too late for
Following the October revolution, the
Bolsheviks engaged at various
times in alliances with the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, some
anarchists, and various non-Russian ethnic nationalist groups, against
the White movement, Right Socialist-Revolutionaries, and other
anarchist and ethnic nationalist groups. This was done to establish
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Communist Party of the Soviet Union (the Bolshevik party) as the
sole legal party in the Soviet Union. Similar shifting alliances were
played out amongst various dissident factions within the CPSU, such as
Workers Opposition and Left Communists, with
Joseph Stalin and his
supporters gaining absolute power within the party by the mid-1920s.
Salami strategy of Hungarian Communist leader, Mátyás
Alliances with various parties played a role in the Nazi
Machtergreifung and Gleichschaltung, the seizure and consolidation of
total power by the National Socialist German Workers Party. The
Enabling Act, which banned the Communist and Social Democratic
parties, was supported by the Nazis' coalition partner, the German
National People's Party, as well as by the Centre Party. Several
months later, all political parties in Germany were banned except for
Culture of fear
Divide and conquer algorithms
Flying monkeys (psychology)
Playing one person against another
Right-wing populism § European countries
^ Ilia Xypolia. 'Divide et Impera: Vertical and Horizontal Dimensions
of British Imperialism'. Critique: journal of socialist theory, vol
44, no. 3, pp. 221-231, 2016. P. 221.
^ 1 §136 and 2 §225
^ http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au Archived 25 June 2007 at the
^ "Dell'arte della guerra: testo - IntraText CT". intratext.com.
^ "Flavius Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, Book I, section 159".
Perseus Project. Retrieved 2011-08-27.
^ "Strabo, Geography, Book 8, chapter 7, section 1". Perseus Project.
^ "Constitutional Government:
James Madison to Thomas Jefferson".
Press-pubs.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2011-08-27.
^ "The Federalist #10". constitution.org.
^ "Immanuel Kant: Perpetual Peace: Appendix I". Constitution.org.
^ Hall J It’s You and Me Baby: Narcissist Head Games The Narcissist
Family Files 27 Mar 2017
^ Boddy, C. R. Corporate Psychopaths: Organizational Destroyers (2011)
^ "HISTORY OF NIGERIA". historyworld.net.
^ BUELL, PAUL D. (1979). "SINO-KHITAN ADMINISTRATION IN MONGOL
BUKHARA". Journal of Asian History. Harrassowitz Verlag. 13 (2):
137–8. JSTOR 41930343.
^ Shashi Tharoor - Inglorious Empire What the British Did to India
^ Jon Wilson, 2016, India Conquered: Britain's Raj and the chaos of
empire, cited in a review of Tharoor's work by Elizabeth Buettner in
"Debt of Honour: why the European impact on India must be fully
acknowledged", Times Literary Supplement, August 11 2017, pages 13-14.
^ "France: The Roman conquest". Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 6, 2015. Because of chronic
internal rivalries, Gallic resistance was easily broken, though
Vercingetorix's Great Rebellion of 52 bce had notable successes.
^ "Julius Caesar: The first triumvirate and the conquest of Gaul".
Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved
February 15, 2015. Indeed, the Gallic cavalry was probably superior to
the Roman, horseman for horseman. Rome's military superiority lay in
its mastery of strategy, tactics, discipline, and military
engineering. In Gaul, Rome also had the advantage of being able to
deal separately with dozens of relatively small, independent, and
uncooperative states. Caesar conquered these piecemeal, and the
concerted attempt made by a number of them in 52 bce to shake off the
Roman yoke came too late.
The dictionary definition of divide and rule at Wiktionary
Aspects of workplaces
Culture of fear
Divide and rule
Fit in or fuck off
Kick the cat
Kiss up kick down
Queen bee syndrome
Safety and health
Aspects of corporations
Aspects of jobs
Aspects of occupations
Aspects of organizations
Intermittent or partial
Climate of fear
Divide and rule
Good cop/bad cop
Moving the goalposts
Setting up to fail
You're either with us, or against us
Abusive power and control
Jewish mother stereotype
Social engineering (blagging)
Antisocial personality disorder
Borderline personality disorder
Carrot and stick
Gaming the system
Histrionic personality disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder