The Renaissance and its Impact on Modern Society Scholarly Paper 000000 Western Civilization I Professor Dr. Katherine Nelson-Born April 1, 2003 The Renaissance 1 Abstract 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 Invention The Renaissance brought about the first portable clock. Invented in 1410, Filippo Brunelleschi's spring-driven design clock made it possible to keep track of and manage time outside of the home or village.

The evolution of Brunelleschi's portable clock is our modern day wristwatch. The development of convex and concave lenses during the Renaissance also led to the invention of both the microscope and telescope. Arguably, the most valuable invention of the Renaissance was the moveable type printing press invented by Johann Gutenberg. Prior to Gutenberg's printing press the copying of books and text was a painstaking, slow process done by hand. The Renaissance's printing press is the grandfather of our modern day copy machine and computer printer.

Science During the Renaissance science made leaps and bounds as well. One major scientific discovery was the development of concave and convex lenses. This advancement led to the ability to correct vision. For thousands of years prior to the Renaissance the science of the human body had remained virtually unchanged.

However, medieval doctors and artists began to explore the human body with an interest not seen before. Using the microscope and dissection, this new spirit of inquiry and observation led to remarkably accurate depiction of the human body. Dissection of the human body during the Renaissance contributed greatly to what we know about the human body today. The Renaissance 4 Art Prior to the Renaissance paintings and sculptures of the human form looked flat and unrealistic. However, Renaissance painters and sculptors wanted to people and nature in a more realistic way. Paintings of the Renaissance soon began to show depth using light and shade.

Sculptures in bronze and marble began looking lifelike in their depiction of the human form. Both paintings and sculptures depicted extremely detailed and accurate recreation of the human form never before captured in art. The Renaissance produced some of the world's most renowned artist and sculptors in history. Names such as Da Vinci, Ghiberti and Michelangelo all came from the Renaissance period. The works of these great artisans and sculptors forever changed the world of art and still today capture both the eye and heart of those who view their magnificent works. Conclusion In many ways the Renaissance has made a significant impact on our modern society.

Modern medicine and science both can trace their origins to the Renaissance. When you see a person wearing glasses or contact lenses know that they are directly benefiting from discoveries made during the Renaissance. The Hubble telescope which allows modern astronomers to look far into our galaxy and beyond can thank the Renaissance. The Renaissance 5 A person's ability to do business and trade or to go school or college without having a certain bloodline or birthright into a noble family is a direct result of the merchant class of the Renaissance.

These are but a few of the many ways the Renaissance has made such a wonderful and dramatic effect on our modern world. It truly was a time of rebirth, a rebirth of science, invention, trade and art that continues to shape and mold our society to this very day. References: Patricia D. Netz ley (1998), Live During the Renaissance Simon Good enough (1979), The Renaissance, The Living Past Andrew Langley (1999), Renaissance Tim Wood (1993), The Renaissance James A.

Corrick (1995), The Early Middle Ages James A. Corrick (1995), The Late Middle Ages Margaret L. King (2001), Western Civilization, A Social and Cultural History, Combined Edition.