Class Conflict between the Nobles and the People (Topic #3)
This paper wishes to explore Machiavelli’s belief that class conflicts can and have to be managed within a republic in order to foster a stable republic that offers an even distribution of power among the ‘Nobles’ and the ‘People’, and enforces an impartial set of laws that have to be followed by each class respectively, which, ultimately, gives a tangible feeling of liberty to all.
It is Machiavelli’s belief that every city is formed of two classes, the ‘Nobles’ and the ‘People’. This separation of classes leads to conflicts among themselves, which for Machiavelli, is because “the populace do not want to be ordered about or oppressed by the elite and the elite want to order about and to oppress the populace” (31). This difference of their ambitions and values offers an excellent means to regulate governmental affairs. Since if the ‘Nobles’ wish to have power, they must ensure sure when they exercise it, they do in a way that satisfies the ‘People’s’ wishes. However, the problem of lesser republics was that the ‘Nobles’ were often acting in their own interests (ex// an oligarchy) because they was no means to regulate their behaviours since they had no one to answer to besides themselves. For instance, “when the Roman nobility became overbearing,… the people rose up against them, with the result that, in order to not lose all of their power, the nobles were obliged to concede a share of their power to the people” (92). Therefore, Machiavelli argues that by empowering the ‘People’ to participate in political process, the ‘Nobles’ are ultimately restricted to exercise their power in a way to address their ‘People’s’ issues.
That is not to say that the ‘Nobles’ are the only ones who are restricted in regards to their actions. The ‘People’ also are also restricted by a set of impartial laws that were established by a joint effort between themselves and the ‘Nobles’. Since absolute liberty free of...