divide and rule(redirected from dividing and ruling)
divide and rule
To gain or maintain power by fomenting discord among people so that they do not unite in opposition. The ascendancy of the faction occurred because they were able to divide and rule—they fooled the other parties into fighting while they rose to power.
divide and rule (or conquer)the policy of maintaining supremacy over your opponents by encouraging dissent between them, thereby preventing them from uniting against you.
This is a maxim associated with a number of rulers, and is found in Latin as divide et impera and in German as entzwei und gebiete . Since the early 17th century, English writers have often wrongly attributed it to the Italian political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli ( 1469–1527 ).