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The Age Of Transition Essay, Research Paper

The period of time from the 1350 to 1650 in Europe has been called the “Age

Of Transition.” A group of people known as the middle class played a

significant role during this time, and more specifically in the Renaissance, the

Protestant Reformation, the Commercial Revolution, and the rise of national

monarchies. Around the mid 14th century, Italy began to grow rich from

trade with the Middle East. There was an obvious geographical advantage,

and Italian traders were taking advantage. A wealthy and powerful group of

merchants and bankers emerged as the new middle class. For the first time,

common people had the time and money to pursue outside interests. These

interests included the arts and education.

The Renaissance was a rebirth of Greek and Roman ideas. Ideas such

as Humanism, Individualism, and naturalism became important to many.

Painters, sculptors, and architects created many fine works which reflected

these ideas. Some of the middle class created art themselves, but most used

their money to support the work of artists. The Medici’s were a wealthy

Italian family who supported many great artists in the northern Italian city of

Florence.

The Protestant Reformation also brought about great changes in

Europe. Before this time, any religious writings (including the Bible) were

only written in Latin. Books had to be copied by hand, so they were very

hard to come by. Two things happened that changed that. First, in 1450

Johann Gutenberg printed the first European book with movable type. Also,

in the 1520’s Martin Luther translated the New Testament from Latin to

German. For the first time, middle class Europeans could not only afford a

Bible, but they could read it too, because it was written in a language that

they could understand. This had dramatic effects. People no longer relied on

the clergy for biblical enlightenment. They could now read it themselves.

Towards the end of the 15th century, many European nations

became very interested in exploring and exploiting the wealth of foreign

lands. Christopher Columbus’ unexpected discovery of the Americas in 1492

triggered an even more intense desire for exploration. People in the middle

class had a lot to gain from their country’s exploration of new lands. It

offered many opportunities for adventure and wealth. These opportunities

caused the Commercial Revolution. A business venture (such as trade with

other countries) required an enormous amount of wealth. Some times

prospective businessmen formed something called a The period of time from the 1350 to 1650 in Europe has been called the “Age

Of Transition.” A group of people known as the middle class played a

significant role during this time, and more specifically in the Renaissance, the

Protestant Reformation, the Commercial Revolution, and the rise of national

monarchies. Around the mid 14th century, Italy began to grow rich from

trade with the Middle East. There was an obvious geographical advantage,

and Italian traders were taking advantage. A wealthy and powerful group of

merchants and bankers emerged as the new middle class. For the first time,

common people had the time and money to pursue outside interests. These

interests included the arts and education.

The Renaissance was a rebirth of Greek and Roman ideas. Ideas such

as Humanism, Individualism, and naturalism became important to many.

Painters, sculptors, and architects created many fine works which reflected

these ideas. Some of the middle class created art themselves, but most used

their money to support the work of artists. The Medici’s were a wealthy

Italian family who supported many great artists in the northern Italian city of

Florence.

The Protestant Reformation also brought about great changes in

Europe. Before this time, any religious writings (including the Bible) were

only written in Latin. Books had to be copied by hand, so they were very

hard to come by. Two things happened that changed that. First, in 1450

Johann Gutenberg printed the first European book with movable type. Also,

in the 1520’s Martin Luther translated the New Testament from Latin to

German. For the first time, middle class Europeans could not only afford a

Bible, but they could read it too, because it was written in a language that

they could understand. This had dramatic effects. People no longer relied on

the clergy for biblical enlightenment. They could now read it themselves.

Towards the end of the 15th century, many European nations

became very interested in exploring and exploiting the wealth of foreign

lands. Christopher Columbus’ unexpected discovery of the Americas in 1492

triggered an even more intense desire for exploration. People in the middle

class had a lot to gain from their country’s exploration of new lands. It

offered many opportunities for adventure and wealth. These opportunities

caused the Commercial Revolution. A business venture (such as trade with

other countries) required an enormous amount of wealth. Some times

prospective businessmen formed something called a joint-stock company.

Several investors would put their money together for a commercial

undertaking, and share the profits. Sometimes a company would sell huge

shares or stocks to many people, and profit immensely. The Dutch East India

Company and the English East India Company were two such examples.

By the early 1500’s England, Spain, and France had developed strong

central governments whose rulers were called absolute monarchs. Powerful

government, such as these, usually brought peace and prosperity to a nation.

Businessmen did not have to worry about such inconveniences as constant

civil disorder, wars between neighboring kingdoms, different monetary units

produced by different lords, and expensive taxes by individual rulers. The

government also produced a standard currency for the entire country. This

made doing business easier, and many middle class people became bankers.

In general the rise of national monarchies brought peace and economic

stability to the region.

The middle class played a significant role in the Age of Transition.

They supported artists during the Renaissance. They learned to read the bible

and helped to spread Protestant ideas. They encouraged, invested, and took

part in overseas expeditions during the Age of Exploration. The rise of

national monarchies made their business easier to conduct and more

prosperous.

joint-stock company.

Several investors would put their money together for a commercial

undertaking, and share the profits. Sometimes a company would sell huge

shares or stocks to many people, and profit immensely. The Dutch East India

Company and the English East India Company were two such examples.

By the early 1500’s England, Spain, and France had developed strong

central governments whose rulers were called absolute monarchs. Powerful

government, such as these, usually brought peace and prosperity to a nation.

Businessmen did not have to worry about such inconveniences as constant

civil disorder, wars between neighboring kingdoms, different monetary units

produced by different lords, and expensive taxes by individual rulers. The

government also produced a standard currency for the entire country. This

made doing business easier, and many middle class people became bankers.

In general the rise of national monarchies brought peace and economic

stability to the region.

The middle class played a significant role in the Age of Transition.

They supported artists during the Renaissance. They learned to read the bible

and helped to spread Protestant ideas. They encouraged, invested, and took

part in overseas expeditions during the Age of Exploration. The rise of

national monarchies made their business easier to conduct and more

prosperous.


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