European Renaissance: Connections Between Modern Day Cultural And Political Institutions And The Renaissance.

2460 words - 10 pages

The European Renaissance was a period of transition from what was known as the medieval world to what could be called the modern world. Many significant advances in knowledge and thought that greatly affected the framework of society and culture of the modern world marked this time period. Our current cultural, social, and political institutions here in the United States also have ties to the influences of this time period.Areas of Social ChangeHumanism and EducationThe Renaissance is known for the development and proliferation of the philosophy of humanism. Humanism is essentially based on placing emphasis on the dignity and worth of the individual. It is a shift in emphasis from the divine to the human. This new philosophy started with the study of classical culture, and a group of subjects called the humanities. The humanities involved studying speaking, grammar, poetry, history, and ethics. The ideal was to study them as far as possible in their original texts (original Latin or Greek) and to make one's own interpretation. Humanistic thought included the idea that the more scholastic point of view did not help lead individuals to responsibility in citizenship, public service, and leadership (Smith).At the time the educational philosophies were focused on using logic and natural science. This was known as scholasticism. Traditional education in this way equipped students to be doctors, lawyers, and theologians. Humanism and the humanities entailed the belief of a broader education that could lead to more professions. It was a more balanced and rounded education that placed emphasis on the total person: intellectual, physical, and moral growth (Smith).Economics and BusinessIt is generally accepted that the Renaissance began in Italy as a result of the fact that it was in an ideal location between Western Europe and the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Italian cities became important centers of trade and commerce. Cities in general increased in population and prospered with the increase in commerce. As a result the rulers of the time started taxing the people. Trade and commerce increased not only between cities and states but between countries as well (Smith).This commerce soon began to move inland along major rivers. The Rhine, Rhone, and Danube rivers all became major trade routes. The towns along these rivers grew. The significance of the relationships between landowners and their tenants decreased as trade and commerce increased. The prosperity generated from the trade and commerce helped sustain changes in the political and social arenas that took place during the era. There was a shift of importance and power from Italy to the countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean such as Portugal, Spain, and France as trade routes shifted from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic. Increased wealth gave these countries increased resources for their cultural development (Smith).PoliticsDuring the latter part of the Medieval Era, the struggle for...

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