Medieval people saw themselves as part of a corporate society. Everything that they needed or wanted came from in side their feudalistic society. They had very little contact outside of their society. The people of the Middle Ages worked together as a corporation to meet their needs.
The social classes were rigid and were very strict, there was very little movement within their society. Serfs were owned as property and were responsible for cultivating and farming the land given to them in return for their service. The landlords would distribute the land to serfs with in their feudal society in return for loyalty and protection. The feudal society was well organized and power within the feudal society was distributed defectively.
The Renaissance was characterized by awareness among Italians that they were living in a new era. The Renaissance manifested itself in a new attitude toward men, women and the world.
This attitude, individualism, sprung a deep interest in classic civilizations of Ancient Rome and Greece as well as the attempt to revive antique life styles and a new secular spirit. Subsequently, Italians were aware of their singularity and were unafraid to be unlike their neighbors.
"Individualism stressed personality, uniqueness, genius, and the fullest development of capabilities and talents. Artist, athlete, painter, scholar, sculptor, whatever--a person's abilities should be stretched until fully realized"
(McKay, p. 409)
Medievel writers studied the ancients in order to come to know God. They interpreted the classics from a Christian point of view. The Renaissance humanists, although very Christian, approached the classics differently. Where medieval writers looked to the classics to reveal God, Renaissance humanists studied the classics to understand human nature. Humanists rejected classical ideas that were opposed to Christianity. Most importantly, humanists were more self-conscious about what they were doing and they stressed...