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The Renaissance was a time in which styles moved away from European patterns. It was largely an artistic change with the encouragement of new Western interest.
• Petrarch and Boccaccio, writers, emphasized love and pride.
• Painting was centered on human themes.
• Religion was no longer the center of attention.
• There was the emphasis of how to maintain and get power.
• Merchants improved their banking techniques
• City- leaders justified their rule with their ability to improve the economy rather than hereditary.
There was the use of
: focus on humankind as center of intellectual and artistic endeavor. It was a study method in which emphasized classical forms like the study of ancient languages. This is where religion is no longer the center of attention. The cause for this change was new imitation of Greek and Roman art and literature.
The Italian Renaissance
The Commercial Revolution
The Transformation of the West,
The First Big Changes: Culture and Commerce, 1450-1650
The Nation State
• The absolute and parliamentary monarchies shared certain characteristics:
o They ruled people who had a common language and similar culture
o Even though ordinary men could not have a role within the government, the government worked to appeal their interests.
Therefore, the nation-states did have similar aspects, but that did not help their diversion, resulting in war.
o The feudal monarchy, which was the balance between a king and nobles, eventually came apart.
o Monarchs gained new powers in higher tax collections and warfare
France, which was most affected by this sudden change, became the most powerful and influential nation in the West.
French kings created centralized authority and formed a very high-class, professional bureaucracy with a powerful military force.
This new system was called an absolute monarchy; Louis XIV especially encouraged this system as he claimed “I am the state.” He made sure to keep his nobles busy with things related to the court so that they could not interfere with the choices he made for the state.
Louis used mercantilism, an economic theory, in order to improve their trading systems and advance in manufacturing and colonial development.
Kings within Spain, Prussia, and Austria-Hungary promoted and tried to use the idea of an absolute monarchy, which pushed for territorial expansions
o Finally, Britain and Netherlands created parliamentary regimes (they did not take part of absolute monarchies), which is when the kings shared power with representatives selected by nobility and upper urban classes.
o The English civil wars created a final political settlement which was called the Glorious Revolution, which basically supported the idea of parliamentary monarchy; this created a diversity among the West, though.
Controversies About Women
Europe and the World
Elites and Masses
The Renaissance Moves Northward
By 1500 Italy was no longer the center of the Renaissance causing it to pass northward into France, the Low Countries, Germany, and England.
• Greek and Latin literature started to gain ground.
• Writers like Shakespeare and Rabelais wrote about classical themes and earthiness.
• There was the move toward greater state power. Kings, like Francis I, increased their ceremony.
• Monarchs sponsored their own trade company.
• There was a greater interest on military conquest, where Francis I wanted to ally with the Ottoman Sultan.
• Women had new limits
However, outside of Italy, kings were still under feudal landlords and the lives of ordinary people and peasants did not change.
The Protestant and Catholic Reformations
Religious change started in the 16th century with a Greek monk named Martin Luther. He wrote 95 theses, in which he protested the selling of grants of salvation for money. He was convinced that only faith could gain you salvation and he challenged the pope. He believed that monasticism was wrong and that priests should be allowed to marry. Luther had gained a lot of support from Germans who did not like the authority and taxation of the pope. German princes saw this as an opportunity to gain control and those who turned Protestant could increase their independence.
: religious dissent against Catholic Church. There were other Protestant groups, like in England, Henry VIII set up an Anglican Church. In addition, Jean Calvin, a French Protestant inspired Calvinism. Calvinists wanted everyone to participate and stressed education.
The Catholic Church did not stay back. With the Catholic Reformation, a restatement of traditional Catholic beliefs, they attacked Protestant beliefs.
On top of all of this there was a new religious order, the Jesuits, who were active in politics, education, and missionary work.
Changes in technology and family
The trade contact with Asia helped the West improve pulleys and pumps in mines. Printing was used in the 15th century and books were distributed more meaning literacy was gaining ground. In addition, family structure was undergoing a change. The European- style family came in which included a late marriage like in their late 20’s and no extended families to limit family birth rates.
The end of Christian unity in the West
These Protestant and Catholic Reformations led to religious wars.
• In France, there were battles between Calvinist and Catholic forces, which ended with the granting of tolerance to Protestants through the edict of Nantes in 1598.
• In Germany there was the Thirty Year War with the Holy Roman Empire and German Protestants. It cut German population by about 60%. Only ended with the Treaty of Westphalia which granted the right to rulers to choose their own religion.
• There was the English Civil War in 1640 which had religious disputes, and ended with tolerance towards Protestants not Catholics.
• These religious wars led to idea of religious pluralism
• There was a lesser connection between God and nature in the West
• Marriage was necessary for women and there had to be love between husband and wife
Trade and manufacture expanded rapidly. A more commercial economy also spurred protest.
The Impact of the World Economy
There was an inflation in Western Europe in the 16th century.
Prices of imports from Spain (such as gold and silver) went up. Which caused the prices to increase in Latin America.
Western Europe couldn’t keep up with their wealth.
When wealth heightened, it caused the demand for products to sell but Western production couldn’t keep up the pace.
Merchants had to make risks such as borrowing when money started to lose value.
People had to use loans for investments.
The inflation made new trading companies in the colonies.
There were new trading monopolies.
Merchants brought profits back to Europe to develop banking arrangements such as (joint-stock companies)
Growing commercialization created the proletariat in the West.
Food prices would rise
People had to sell parts of their land to buy food.
People started to work on agricultural estates.
There were many beggars and wanderers on the street.
There were shifts in economic and cultural divisions. Popular protests were in Western Europe until about 1650. Peasants and townspeople want to take cover from poverty and loss of property. The uprisings caused many insecurities in of many workers.
Popular rebellions in the 17th century made new forms of equality. Uprisings in 1648 produced for a higher political voice. English Levelers gained 100,000 signatures for political rights. Protestants and Catholic peasants stuck together against landlords and taxes.
Women were being tried for witch craft. There were outbursts of suspected witches in the same decade in New England and Western Europe. Attacks on witches caused cultural upheaval. Between 60,000-10,000 suspects of witches were accused and killed.
A Balance Sheet
Problems with the changes of Europe between 1450-1650:
Secular interests disagreed with the Reformation in spiritual emphases.
Confucianism had reasons for witch trials.
Rumors of black magic and treason upset the imperial succession and wiped out the established families who had dominated the court since the beginning of the Western Han dynasty,” “The resulting power vacuum was filled by men from obscure backgrounds, including a group of officials identified with a commitment to the Confucian classics.”
“The witchcraft scandal has long been ignored by scholars, but it was pivotal in the creation of Chinese governmental traditions for the coming centuries,” “It transformed the Confucian group from a disadvantaged society of scholar-bureaucrats to formidable contenders in the political world of the Han dynasty.”
The Reformation made commerce popular.
People were more interested in politics than religion at the time, but religion continued to be strong in families.
The Scientific Revolution: The Next Phase of Change
There was a science revolution in the 17th century.
It affected intellectual life.
The Government rose to make nation-states because of the political upheavals from the political changes of the Reformation.
It was not a single form because of the monarchies and parliamentary regimes.
Did Copernicus copy?
From the rise of science and intellectual life there was a Polish monk named Copernicus who was big in science rationalism and believed that planets moved around the sun rather than the earth, as the Greeks thought.
His discovery made new ways of thinking.
Most of his findings were from mathematics and Greek thinking. Similar geometrical findings were by two Arabs, al-Urdi and al-Tusi from the 13th and 14th centuries. Scientists in other traditions such as Chinese, Indian, and Mayan, already realized the position of the sun.
Because of Copernicus’ discoveries, science started to be very popular in Western intellectual life more than any other society.
Science: The New Authority
In the 16th century, science started becoming the main focus in Europe.
o New instruments and ideas developed in Asia, which encouraged the Europeans to advance in biology and astronomy.
The new tools that were created to better observations and experimentations led to successes of emerging scientists
The Scientific Method was created due to this push towards science
Johannes Kepler was an important early figure for the study of planetary motion; after Copernicus, he furthered the research of our solar system and gained more knowledge about it
Galileo publicized Copernicus’ findings about planetary motion and the laws of gravity; He did have issues with the church due to his claims about the locations of our planets and sun
William Harvey was an English physician who found out about the circulatory blood system around the heart in animals
Rene Descartes encouraged skepticism; he believed humans had the capability of creating certain laws of nature that would explain natural occurrences but also told to accept nothing
Isaac Newton was a scientist who developed the principles of motion, gave definition to forces of gravity, and created other theories about space
This Scientific Revolution changed education; science was taught and encouraged to learn
The belief in witchcraft began to decline and a new belief for control over environment began:
• Deism: it was the belief that God did establish nature but did not regulate the laws of nature
• John Locke was an English philosopher who argued that people could understand everything that was necessary by simply observing and creating rational reasoning behind everything
• All this scientific advances were a huge turning-point for Western human progress because it became their centralized intellectual life, which was something that was unique to this civilization.
The First Big Changes: Culture and Commerce, 1450-1650
By: Naniyah McClain, Melany Lema, Sheyla Gonzalez
• As traditional religion finally began to calm from having issues with dealing with the new intellectual, scientific life, the political changes that occurred weren’t so calm.
Absolute and Parliamentary Monarchy
The West by 1750
• Although the fighting between absolute and parliamentary monarchies did not stop, big commercial changes began to occur in Europe; these changes added an important expansion to manufacturing, agricultural developments, and growing implications for political and social life.
o During the 18th century, the West underwent a change called the Enlightenment expansion, which helped expand the range of intellectual innovation.
o Developments were greater in the central European states due to the push for “enlightenment.” Frederick the Great of Prussia introduced greater freedom of religion, expanded state economic functions, encouraged agricultural methods, and promoted greater commercial coordination and equity.
Rulers like these were called “enlightened despots” which meant they held great authority over the people but focused on creating a better society with that authority.
o Although Enlightenment reforms were encouraged all throughout Prussia, this did not stop the major Western states from fighting:
France and the British fought over colonial empires
Prussia fought with Austria over control of land that Prussia gained
• Even though these wars weren’t really devastating, they still demonstrated a characteristic that was given to the West by others: a continuation linkage between statecraft and war.
Enlightenment Thought and Popular Culture
• So after the Scientific Revolution, the new movement that Prussia especially was influenced was called the Enlightenment, which centered in France.
o The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement; it encouraged scientific research and applied the already existing laws of science into human society
In order to explain both physical and social behavior, people had to think rationally.
New ideas emerged into criminology and politics; punishments could not change a criminal, but education can. For politics, the importance of a carefully planned constitution was emphasized but there was no biased opinions towards which political reformation was best.
Adam Smith made of set of principles of economic behavior; he encouraged that the government should hold back on their control and allow individual effort/promotion through self-interest, which should cause economic advances.
The Enlightenment was also further encouraged by important figures; for example, Denis Diderot was an Enlightenment figure who created the first encyclopedia, which was a compilation of scientific and social scientific knowledge.
o Other Enlightenment thinkers tried to fight for more specific reasons such as economic equality, abolishing private property, and women’s rights.
An example would be Mary Wollstonecraft, who was an Enlightenment feminist who argued that political rights should be passed to women. This encouraged journals to be created by women who encouraged more freedom to be given to women; it also spread to family life, where the old hierarchies should be revised so that women and children had better treatment within the household. This created a stronger set of emotions within people; love between family members was much more respected now.
Ongoing Change in Commerce and Manufacturing
• Due to the changes in economics within the Western, it brought mass consumerism to their society.
o Mass consumerism was the growing importance of ordinary life; ordinary Westerners grew a deep interest in material goods and services, which lead to the economic capacity to afford these goods.
o New methods were created for agriculture, which were advanced methods from the medieval times: swamp drainage, use of nitrogen-fixing crops, improved stock-breeding, and the use of scythes instead of sickles increased harvesting productivity.
o New World crops like the potato increased food supply; this crop was shunned for a long time because it was not mentioned in the Bible and was thought to be the cause of the plague.
o The agricultural advances (which caused internal and international advancements in commerce) spurred increased manufacturing.
o This domestic system of household production gave people extra work to do, which gave landless individuals jobs.
o Technological innovations were also made; John Kay created the flying shuttle, which improved the efficiency of weaving.
o Due to all these advancements, the lives of people were prolonged.
Global Connections: Europe and the World
• Due to Europe’s significant changes, their perspectives towards others changed as well.
• The Europeans believed they were superior to other civilizations; they began to view other civilizations, who were not as advanced or not as interested in technology/sciences like they were, as uncivilized or backwards.
• This thought process had a powerful effect on the European’s attitude and other civilizations they encountered, which caused many reactions.