OR, if you are so inclined, watch this video and, combined with the material you read from the text, consider Machiavelli's Prince and tackle one of the following prompts.
1. Consider legality vs. morality as expressed by Machiavelli and any other ideologies present at the time, discuss how it is similar or different than political/legal practice today, and explore any legal issues/themes that strike your interests about it or related works.
2. Consider the impact that Machiavelli's theories and their practice might have and/or did have on the economic climate, explore the economic pros and cons of a government orchestrated according to Machiavelli's principles, and explore any economic issues/themes that strike your interests about it or related works.
Renaissance is considered the Age of Rebirth because it is the period of great intellectual and cultural movements in Europe. The Renaissance is traditionally seen as the end of the Middle Ages and the start of the modern era. After the fall of the Byzantine empire to the Muslim Turks, many Christians and other scholars left Greece and went to Italy. Many Arab scholars and writers preserved ancient Greek writings in libraries. There is great revival of classical ideas in science, arts, education, culture, learning, literature, and so forth. For example, the aim of education during the Renaissance is to produce a holistic human being adept in mathematics, humanities, science, arts, sports, crafts, and so on. Many affluent families commissioned and patronized great works of art, literature, etc. The Renaissance Era began initially in northern Italy in 1400s and flourished in Europe until around 1700s. Italian cities, such as Venice, Genoa, Naples, became trade centers between European countries and the Middle East. Trades between Italians and Arabs resulted to the exchange, not only of goods, but also of the preservation of ideas. The Renaissance is also the start of the printing press or industrialization.
What is absolutism?
Where did it originate and how does it relate to earlier concepts of humanism and individualism?
What effect did French absolutism have on world politics?
Absolutism refers to the unrestricted or full exercise of power on everything by the government (e.g., monarchy). In absolutism, the ruler claims to have his power as having emanated from a divine providence. Inferably, the ruler has absolute power to make laws, determine foreign policies, administer justice, and control all other systems. Absolutism originated from monarchs or kings. For example, Louis XIV became the absolute ruler in Europe throughout his seven decades of reign. Some of the quotes attributed to him include, “One king, one law, one faith,” “I am the state,” “I have no intention of sharing my authority,” and so on. The relation of absolutism to earlier concepts of humanism and individualism is that individuals have the capacity for self-actualization through rational thinking. The effect of the French absolutism on world politics is many. Other than France being the strongest European country during Louis XIV’s reign, it also left an important lesson such that a country’s economy depends on the most hardworking and prosperous subjects for it to continue being a great nation. In addition, absolutism or unlimited authority can either be used to the fullest extent possible (e.g., during Stalin and Hitler’s time).
The Enlightenment (1715-1789)
Why did England industrialize before other Western and non-Western cultures such as America and China?
One of the main reasons why England industrializes before other Western and non-Western cultures (e.g., America and China) is because of its dominating power over its territories or colonies. Much of Great Britain’s industrial developments were result of the invention of the steam engine, railroad systems, flying shuttle for textile industries, factory system that replaced the cottage system, safety lamp for iron and coal miners, and a lot more. It made land and water transportation much cheaper as freight and passenger rates decreased sharply. In addition to other inventions during those periods, England has invested a percentage of its national annual income overseas on railroads, utilities, and ports for the settlement of vacant lands. Much of England’s investments went to Canada, New Zealand, US, Australia, and other European countries. Even one third of the investment made by Great Britain to build US railroad systems was European money. There are other reasons for England’s industrialization as compare to other cultures.
Butler, C. (2007). FC103: Balance of Power Politics in the Age of Reason (1715-1789). Retrieved from Flow of History: http://www.flowofhistory.com/units/west/15/FC103
Farbaky, P., & Waldman, L. (2011). Italy & Hungary: Humanism and Art in the Early Renaissance. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
HowStuffWorks, Inc. (2013). Industrialization of England. Retrieved from How Stuff Works: http://history.howstuffworks.com/european-history/industrial-revolution3.htm
Sommerville, J. (n.d.). Absolutism and the Divine Right of Kings. Retrieved from http://faculty.history.wisc.edu/sommerville/351/351-172.htm