Western Civilization I
Professor Dr. Katherine Nelson-Born
April 1, 2003
The Renaissance 1
The Renaissance is a term that means rebirth. The renaissance marked a renewed interest in many things such as the arts but also brought about change in the areas of class structure; trade; invention and science. These changes have influenced nearly every social class and industrialized society in the modern world. This paper will show how this unique period in our history impacts our society today.
The Renaissance 2
Class Structure and Trade
Before the Renaissance, power was achieved by birthright, wealth and nobility however; the Renaissance gave birth to the merchant class. Agriculture was a mainstay of wealth and power however, it was quickly becoming less lucrative and many farmers decided to move to cities and take up new occupations. These city-based occupations required the need for increased educational skills such as reading, writing and bookkeeping. Accordingly education became more important, and parents of this emerging merchant class increasingly wanted their children to attend schools and universities. As the merchant class grew, they became increasingly wealthy. Along with this newfound wealth, this emerging merchant class gained power. Power that changed existing class structures and influenced politics. The evolution of the merchant class has developed into the free-trade system used throughout the industrialized world. Furthermore, the merchant class of the Renaissance allowed people not of birthright or noble blood to gain wealth and ascend to power in both business and politics. Today many of our successful business men and women who came from humble origins and owe their ability to improve themselves through education and the earning of wealth through trade and business to the merchant class of the Renaissance.
The Renaissance 3...