Machiavelli and the principle of distinction

In chapter XLVII of his Discourses, Machiavelli tells two stories:

The Roman People having become annoyed with the Consular name, and wanting to be able either to choose as Consuls men of the Plebs, or to limit their authority, the Nobility in order not to discredit the Consular authority by either change, took the middle course, and were content that four Tribunes with Consular power be created, who could come from the Plebs as well as from the Nobles. The Plebs were content with this, as it seemed to them to destroy the Consulship and give them a part in the highest ranks. From this a notable case arose, that when it came to the creation of these Tribunes, and they could have selected all Plebs, the Roman people chose all Nobles. Continue reading