Political Effects of the Renaissance by: GirlLuver33

Essay by GirlLuver33High School, 11th gradeA+, February 2004

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Political Effects of the Renaissance

History has shown us how civilizations evolve over time. Broadly

interpreted, the age of Diocletian marked a decisive stage in the

transition from the classical, the Greco-Roman, civilization of the

ancient Roman Empire to the Christian-Germanic civilization of the

early Middle Ages. Similarly interpreted, "the age of the Renaissance

marked the transition from the civilization of the Middle Ages to the

modern world"(Ferguson 1). Therefore, the Renaissance is the beginning

of the modern world and modern government.

In law the tendency was to challenge the abstract dialectical

method of the medieval jurists with a philological and historical

interpretation of the sources of Roman Law. As for political thought,

the medieval proposition that the preservation of liberty, law, and

justice constitutes the central aim of political life was challenged

but not overthrown by Renaissance theorists. They contended that the

central task of government was to maintain security and peace.

Machiavelli maintained that the creative force (virtj) of the ruler

was the key to the preservation of both his own position and the

well-being of his subjects, an idea consonant with contemporary


Italian city-states were transformed during the Renaissance from

communes to territorial states, each of which sought to expand at the

expense of the others. Territorial unification also took place in

Spain, France, and England. The process was aided by modern diplomacy,

which took its place beside the new warfare when the Italian

city-states established resident embassies at foreign courts. By the

16th century, the institution of permanent embassies spread northward

to France, England, and the Holy Roman Empire.

Renaissance churchmen, particularly in the higher echelons,

patterned their behavior after the mores and ethics of lay society.

The activities of popes, cardinals, and bishops were scarcely

distinguishable from those of secular merchants and political...