Machiavelli's strict political beliefs and the presumed and the severity of his writings led to a reputation of amorality. Machiavelli came under great attack by the Counter-Reformation, and the French coined the term Machiavellian as a derogatory word for disgrace and hatred of anything Italian. Even today the word is still in the English language meaning of or relating to Machiavelli or his political theory, characterized by political cunning, duplicity, or bad faith. Though Machiavelli's writings do seem to subscribe to quite harsh means, Machiavelli was a very religious and quite moral man. Much of his philosophies and writings were grossly exaggerated by himself to shock his contemporaries, and all of his beliefs were intended for the good of the Florentine Republic, not for selfish amoral reasons. Unfortunately many people wrongly judge Machiavelli on the basis of this term and use only The Prince to judge him by. Hopefully history will correct this wrong and Machiavelli's life and other writings will be taken into account to get a more complete picture of this great historical figure.
Encyclopedia Brittanica, 15th ed, 1992. S.v. "Machiavelli, Niccolo".
Webster's Third New International Dictionary, s.v. "Machiavellian"