• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What were the main characteristics of Early Modern Europe?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What were the main characteristics of Early Modern Europe? It is crucial to establish what is meant by the 'early modern' period to begin with. Broadly speaking, the 16th century encompasses the bulk of the period, which follows the medieval and precedes the modern. A period is defined by the Concise Oxford Dictionary as an "indefinite portion of history". Periodisation is vital because it simplifies discussion. However, it is important to avoid elevating the importance of such titles due to the inherent danger of periodisation - excessive reliance on divisions of time may lead to a failure to consider events in their wider context throughout history. This essay comments on four main areas of early modern Europe. These are: economics, politics and international affairs, society and religion. The focus is on change - the named aspects of Europe experienced significant change during the period. Of course there is a degree of overlap between different categories. The economy during the 16th century fostered the development of capitalism, due to expanding trade, urbanisation and colonialisation. Economic advancement consequently produced a larger population, inflation, new industries, trade and advanced technologies. ...read more.

Middle

It is important to recognise that although the early modern period was a time of enormous change, social structure is one of the things that changes very slowly by comparison. An example is the way family worked. Today's model of parents and children as a single unit was alien in the 16th century. Several generations, including cousins, grandparents and servants, occupied the same dwelling. The role of women was changing - they were made less economically independent and second-class citizens to men, whereas during the medieval period they had had some economic influence. Classes were not commonly spoken of - instead social 'orders' was the term used, which were determined by rank instead of economic status. Theoretically, there were three 'orders' - at the top was the nobility, then monks and priests, with townsmen and peasants at the bottom of the heap. But in reality it was more complicated and less clear-cut than this. The nobility was exempt from direct taxation, because they fought for the state. Some churchmen were social equals of the nobility. This reflected the attitude towards religion prevalent at the time (although this changed to a certain extent during the period, due to the increase in secularism). ...read more.

Conclusion

It led to a faster spread of Luther's and Calvin's ideas across the continent, which may have contributed to the ignition of the Reformation in the 16th century, starting in Germany, and spreading to England and elsewhere, which was followed by the Counter Reformation as the Catholic Church sought to regain Church lands lost to Protestantism. Both the Reformation and the Renaissance are recognised as widespread, long lasting revolutions, which were unheard of during the Middle Ages. This has to be partly contributed to the advent of printing. This brief, and in places, inaccurate comment on aspects of the early modern period is greatly lacking in its depth of exploration. The topic is a huge one and naturally has a variety of outlooks as to the importance of various characteristics. However, it is clear that the 16th century was a time of immense change in some areas, such as schools of thought and the Church, while others changed painfully slowly, such as social structure. Change in the early modern period is dominated by individuals such as Luther and Calvin, who had lasting effects on the way the modern world is shaped. Indeed, the 15th and 16th centuries saw developments which have lasted long beyond their own frontiers. Rebecca Doorbar 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Economy & Economics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Economy & Economics essays

  1. Causes of the Great Depression

    Banks, stores, and factories were closed and left millions of Americans jobless, homeless, and penniless. Many people came to depend on the government or charity to provide them with food. The Depression became a worldwide business slump of the 1930's that affected almost all nations.

  2. Discuss the relationship between the emergence of the modern Indian Diaspora and the operations ...

    It was the rise of industrial capitalism that forged a new relationship with a modern Indian diasporic movement of servile, unfree labour, which came to be characterised as a system referred to as indentureship. It is in this period that the global capitalist development of Indian indentured labour became the mainstay of the international labour market of unfree, servile labour.

  1. Congestion Charging

    It did this by increasing the cost of using a car and so using public transport would seem relatively cheaper. Increasing use of public transport would benefit the whole of London because it would generate more profit for the transport authorities and this could in turn be spent to improve

  2. Tax Policy in Europe

    The VOA gathers as much evidence as possible about actual rents paid for properties in order to determine appropriate rental values. The rateable value of your property is not the amount you pay in business rates, but it is the basis for the calculation of your business rates bill.

  1. Are scholars justified in using the term 'Golden Age' to describe the economic history ...

    In advanced capitalist countries GDP per head was seen to triple, living standards, life style and culture all showed vast improvements. Europe's favourable supply side factors, such as a seemingly elastic supply of both trained and common labour, growth in investment as rates in return reached high levels and the

  2. An Empirical Investigation into the Causes and Effects of Liquidity in Emerging

    to better judge the state of market liquidity and how to better predict and prevent liquidity crises. In particular, the Russian debt moratorium in August 1998 triggered studies by the Bank for International Settlements. In fixed income markets, a common and systematic source of pricing discrepancy occurs because of illiquid bonds {Gwilym et al.

  1. CAPM and its significance

    as the main goal of measuring risky assets in the market has not been fulfilled. According to Financial theory and corporate policy (Copeland and Weston, 1946), now, let us suppose a portfolio consisting of a % invested in risky asset and (1 - a %)

  2. Selecting international modes of entry and expansion

    New Japanese FDI slowed in the 1990s, but economic data still reveal the strong position that Japanese firms hold in both exporting and direct investment. In 1995 the USA exported $576 billion in goods (and $219 billion in services), while Japan exported $443 billion in goods (US DOC, November 1997).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work