Those republics . . . that started without having a perfect constitution . . . may perfect themselves by the aid of events. It is very true, however, that such reforms are never effected without danger, for the majority of men never willingly adopt any new law tending to change the constitution of the state, unless the necessity of the change is clearly demonstrated; and as such a necessity cannot make itself felt without being accompanied with danger, the republic may easily be destroyed before having perfected its constitution.
—Niccoló Machiavelli (1469-1527), Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius. Tr. C. E. Detmold