In , Machiavelli writes, "Nor will any reasonable man blame him for taking any action, however extraordinary, which may be of service in the organizing of a kingdom or the constituting of a republic...Reprehensible actions may be justified by their effects." It was not the means that were taken to accomplish something, or whether they were moral, that was the issue of importance; instead it was the end result that mattered.
These attitudes and ideas were very appropriate for the time because they stressed strong, centralized power, the only kind of leadership that seemed to be working throughout Europe, and which was the element Italy was lacking.
Machiavelli understood that obtaining such a government could not be done without separating political conduct and personal morality, and suggested that the separation be made.
It is laws that make a state and its ruler what they are.
As was mentioned earlier, Machiavelli lived in an era and location that allowed him to witness corruption in the Christian church in its height, causing him to view the pope as just another prince on a quest for increased power.
In the year 1513, the year The Prince was written, Pope Alexander VI, the Borgia pope, was sitting on the throne.
He used the papacy to promote the careers of his children, caused a French invasion of Italy, and focused on nothing but his quest for more power.
Viewing this, it would have been hard for anyone, including Machiavelli, to view the papacy or any other ecclesiastical power in a positive light.
Instead, he saw the popes as nothing more than princes attempting to strengthen and expand their empires.
"The two most essential foundations for any state...
are sound laws and sound military forces." The military force's most important function is to defend and implement the laws, for without something to back them up, laws are nothing.