Assignment FRQ 3

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Compare and contrast the cultural values of the Enlightenment with those of the sixteenth-century Northern Renaissance.

The values of the sixteenth-century Northern Renaissance and that of the Enlightenment were very different but they each had similar ties to one another. To address the former of the two periods of European history, it is important to note that the Northern Renaissance had little influence outside of Italia until the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The Northern Renaissance was primarily focused on humanism and focusing on studying the classics, taking a critical approach, and admiring human achievement. Erasmus was interested in early Christians as well as classical culture and studied ancient Greek texts. The more realistic figures and the subject matter portrayed gave evidence that realism was important in Northern Renaissance. Whereas the Enlightenment was a time period of scientific discovery, exploration and imperialism. The scientific method was created and Kepler published his three laws of planetary motion. Also the Enlightenment period philosophers and scientists destroyed the idea of the four humors: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic. As for the similarities in the two movements, there was a large emphasis on education and the need for self-improvement. Polymaths were influential figures who shared common ideas and philosophical thoughts as well as scientific wills to explore. Émile by Jean-Jacques Rousseau tackles fundamental political and philosophical questions about the relationship between the individual and society; how, in particular, the individual might retain what Rousseau saw as innate human goodness while remaining part of a corrupting collectivity. Its opening sentence: “Everything is good as it leaves the hands of the Author of things; everything degenerates in the hands of man.” This is a prime example for the fundaments of both movements.

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