Born in Florence in
1469, Machiavelli spent a lot of his time on diplomatic missions on behalf of
the Ten of War, which dealt with foreign relations in which Machiavelli dealt
with Florence’s military matters, as of that time the city of Florence faced
potential attacks from nations such as France and Spain. Machiavelli was
reportedly sent on twenty-four diplomatic missions over the course of a decade.
From observing Machiavelli’s time as a diplomat, one could suggest that Machiavelli
always held a role in which he served people. Despite being dismissed, the
uncovered reasons lead us to believe that Machiavelli was an individual that
maintained a position in which his power never really came under much scrutiny.
This essay will explore how Machiavelli’s relationship with the people of
Florence developed over time and how the transfer of power defined his
The use of the term nobles can be understood as individuals who deem
themselves as the upper echelons of society and therefore are exempt from
social norms and regular political practices. Machiavelli concedes that elites, socioeconomic and
political—often combined—will emerge
through even the most populist political arrangements (McCormick, 2003: pg.619).
This implies that Machiavelli believes that elites will always emerge from
society as they adopt methods which stand out from the masses in society.
The general idea
that is put across is that people who are given power directly from the people,
for example through a democracy, are held more directly accountable.
Machiavelli highlights how there is not one way to directly win over the people
as it usually varies according to the circumstances, as a result one cannot
give any definite rules (Skinner and Price 1998, pg.36). A flaw in this concept
is that it is open to interpretation meaning that unless the circumstances are
met one cannot refer to a set of rules. Machiavelli highlights that in every
city there are two groups of people, the commoners and the nobles. The commoners
were seen as people of the working class while the nobles as mentioned earlier
were the people that were seen as above others in society usually due to their
level of wealth, landed gentry or education.
In relation to the
Prince’s context one can argue that it is written from a biased perspective as
scholars claim it was written in order to please the Medici Family although
Machiavelli was a great advocate of Republicanism. As the book was used as a
tool to attain a high office within government. The book dealt with the most
acute problem of Italy which was its inferiority in political organisation and
military strength. Therefore, it became a handbook for aspirants to political
power (Misra, 1952: pg.21). Some would go as far to say that Machiavelli
was inconsistent in his approach because at point in his career he came across
as being against the monarchy