Renaissance Wealth and Politics
During the Renaissance period of European history, many nations struggled to produce not only their own national identity but also a political system which allowed for clarity of command and stability. For many of these nations, the struggle for political power was greatly influenced by the flow of commerce and wealth changing hands. Three major infrastructures which depended on wealth each in their own way utilized such an in order to establish legitimate claim to political power and stabilize their regions. Italy’s unified national identity dissolved due to the struggle and conflict between the affluent families which ultimately influenced the creation of city-states. England monarchs, struggling to regain footing after the result of the Hundred Years War, depended greatly on the tax revenues raised by Parliament. As if an antithesis to Italy’s dissolution into city-states, France struggled to eliminate the absolute freedom and authority of the noble elite and once again establish the dominance of the monarchy. Each of these nations established their political power through a direct relationship with wealth. What makes their development unique is how differently Italy, England, and France utilized or influenced the flow of wealth in order to establish the political power and stability they sought.
With the decline of the Roman Empire, the influence throughout Italy reflected similar characteristics which reflected similar dissolution. The struggle for political cohesion gave way to self-governed, aristocratically established city-states. These new localized political satellites often fell into the hands of a single affluent family despite the many fail safe measures they might have put into practice. The reason for such a concentration of power directly correlates to how these families utilized their wealth to obtain political power. Rivalry for power between the elite families quickly broke out throughout all of the...
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