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The Impact Of The Printing Press

1166 words - 5 pages

In the 1450’s, Johannes Gutenberg revolutionized literature during the Renaissance with the invention of the printing press. Gutenberg’s invention encouraged cultural diffusion, advancements in math and science and made literature more accessible to the lower class. According to Chip Brady’s “What Was the Most Important Consequence of the Printing Press,” “...without his invention all of the above thinkers (Newton, Darwin, Einstein) and many more…would have never emerged” (Background Essay). Basically, Brady explains that many of the great minds of the time would not have emerged without the printing press because they would not have had access to the forefront of scientific literature and ...view middle of the document...

(This also happened)," scribes were no longer needed in society and therefore, slowly lost their livelihoods. Next, Gutenberg’s invention helped to unify Europe under common languages and texts. For example, in the Polyglot bible "...no less than nine languages were printed side by side..." (Document G), according to ”Early Modern Books” (Document L) new books printed during that time period were printed in vernacular, unifying Europe under a common language and “The Polyglot Bibles” claims, “The press did act at times as a unifying agent…” (Document G). Finally, the press helped to increase public knowledge and spark curiosity. “Printing and Map Making” and “The Story of Amerigo Vespucci” (Document I and J) explain that through explorers accounts, knowledge of the new world spread through Europe rapidly and spark the interest of many; “Printing and Map Making” also explains the formation of a new connection between explorers and map makers by stating, "Because of the press, over time...voyagers were provided with uniform maps and encouraged to exchange information with map publishers" (Document I). Although its original purpose was not to cause social changes, the printing press affected the social split, new jobs, the unification of the continent and the spread of knowledge.
In addition to the social reforms, the printing press had ramifications on the government including the spread of negative ideas, the freedom of speech it created and eventually the Treaty of Madrid 300 years later. As seen in Martin Luther’s 95 Theses (Document D), the printing press made creating a distributing of negative thoughts significantly easier than it previously was. This threatened the government because unhappy citizens could use the press to spread their thoughts and start revolts. Furthermore, the printing press gave the people more power because they now had access to literature that was not regulated by the church, and therefore freedom of press (Document G). The government then lost some of their power over the citizens because they could unify and spread ideas much faster than before along with the fact that they could publish negative things about their government. Finally, after the publications of explorers like Christopher Columbus (Document H) and Amerigo Vespucci and the distribution of maps including the new world (Document I), European kings discovered the idea of colonizing the Americas. This effort was mainly by Spain and Portugal who fought over the rights to South America, this cost their governments a great deal of money and eventually, they were forced to draft and sign the Treaty of Madrid, which dictated which part...

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