The book is composed of 26 chapters which fall into four major sections. In part one Machiavelli discusses the four types of principalities. The first type is hereditary princedoms meaning they are inherited by the ruler. There are also mixed principalities which are seized by force, civic principalities which are acquired by various criminal methods and finally ecclesiastical principalities influenced by the church. Machiavelli outlines how to maintain a newly acquired territory as these various types of principalities.