The answer, was Nicolo Machiavelli.
Machiavelli, lived during the heyday of the Northern Italian Renaissance-(circa the 1400's). He was reported to have been a Diplomat or Politician from the Tuscan region of Italy....though apparently, he was not very skilled in Statesmanship or Diplomacy.
However, Machiavelli had more talent and success as a Writer, specifically, as a Political Philosopher. While Nietzsche discussed, "The Will to Power" and Spinoza, as well as Locke-(two centuries earlier), had their own political views, it was actually Machiavelli, who was the Founder or the Earliest Pioneer of Modern Political Theory.
Machiavelli's most famous-(and perhaps infamous) work was, "The Prince". It was a relatively short political treatise on the history and nature of Power and how it must be used effectively. The use and exploits of Power do not necessarily require a benign or sublime reason(s) or "justification", but instead, should be used effectively...for effectiveness' sake.
Perhaps the most famous quote from The Prince-(and from Machiavelli, in general), was..."The End justifies the means". If you notice the language, it is in reverse order. Typically, we tend to hear, "A means to an end-(or the end)". However, Machiavelli, rather cynically, rearranged the order of this famous statement in order to underscore Power...for Power's sake. That is to say, manipulating any "end" or any extreme, in order to fulfill the mean or reach the result regardless of morality-(whether religiously or philosophically based. It should also be noted that Machiavelli viewed himself as "irreligious").
Essentially, Nicolo Machiavelli, was the West's first major "Real Politique" Philosopher. For Machiavelli, there was nothing idealistic, noble, sublime, or ethical about politics...quite the opposite. Machiavelli, was an unapologetic Political Realist and Pragmatist who viewed Politics as a necessary consolidation of power for the sake of power and had no interest in bettering the lives of citizens or the State.