Obtaining power and maintaining power as a leader, these are two goals, which Niccolo Machiavelli believes he has the correct method. The main point that drives his beliefs is that men will follow a powerful leader. He feels that without the presence of power, his men will not look up to him as someone to guide them. According to Machiavelli, a leader must be aware of the bad nature in man, and assume the worst in every aspect. He believes that men will lie, cheat, steal, or do anything necessary to benefit themselves in the situation. I believe Machiavelli's views on rulers are correct, but very extreme.
Another topic brought up by Machievelli is respect. He feels that men respect power. But with respect, you have to believe that they may also take advantage of kindness. According to Machievelli, the only way to gain loyalty of men is to be both respected and feared by them in unison. He believes people act according to self interest alone. In other words, they must look out for themselves. Machievelli thinks, when given the opportunity, one must destroy the opposition completely. If one does not, in certain situations, he may be destroyed. In Machievelli's eyes, a ruler must meet many standards to obtain power and rise as a powerful leader. The ruler should be the one to lead the military, and with this responsibility, there must be a great degree of intelligence. He can not be uncertain, because, uncertainty can be a sign of weakness. This is one aspect of a ruler that should never be. A ruler can never second guess his decisions, or consider whether his ideas are right or wrong. Instead, he must act in a manner for the greater wellbeing of the state. Another important point is how these goals are achieved. According to Machievelli, it doesn't matter how these goals are reached, as long as they are reached, no matter the cost. He believes the main reason for his theories being correct stands on the fact that they are not dependent on people always acting in a moral state.