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Human Progress in Renaissance and Modern Society


The Renaissance is one of the turning points in the history of the development of the world. This era changed the direction and pace of human progress. Such processes significantly affected European countries. Life of regular people, as well as of aristocracy, became different and more resembling the life of modern people. However, there are still some differences. The main goal of this paper is to argue that modern society is very similar to European society in the early Renaissance, and the main differences are associated with a higher pace of world development.

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The Renaissance is a period between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. In French, this word means rebirth. This period is characterized by significant changes in European society (Burke, 2014). The Renaissance is associated with rapid development. Many new cities were established. The quality of life of the middle class considerably improved. People could earn and spend much more money than before. This age is mostly famous for its great scientists, painters, and writers.

Although renaissance usually evokes positive connotations, it started with a horrifying epidemic, the plague. It affected all European societies. The plague killed approximately half of the population (Burke, 2014). The disease disseminated very fast in large cities. It resulted in severe economic decline as vendors could not find customers to sell their products.

However, after the epidemic, the population rapidly increased. It began to form a new middle class that included merchants and bankers. The growing population developed a new market for such services (Agnew & Duncan, 2014). European society became more and more prosperous. People built large houses, bought expensive attire, and became much more interested in art. Also, the middle class had more spare time. People used it to study sciences and humanities. The most noticeable changes occurred in Italian cities. The country turned into the center of trade and education (Burke, 2014). Such cities as Venice, Genoa, and Florence become very famous and rich. Also, sailing had an enormous impact on European society during this period. Sailors began to use more effective tools. Ships became bigger and could endure longer trips. It enhances trade as sailors could bring new products such as ivory, silk, and spices.

Therefore, the main distinguishing characteristics of early Renaissance society were financial development, urbanization, artistic energies, and commercial revival. However, these are also the attributes of modern society, but these processes develop on a larger scale. Nowadays, trade, political interactions, art, and other activities have become industries. There are many multinational corporations. Regular people can freely travel around the world and dedicate their lives to a variety of things. As the development of sailing accelerated the development of society in the early Renaissance, the Internet speeds up the growth of modern communities the same way. However, the main difference is that contemporary society is more cosmopolitan. The boundaries between different cultures are becoming less and less noticeable. English has become an international language, which also has improved communication and collaboration among nations around the globe. However, people in modern society have less free time due to very busy schedules. The pace of the development of the world is much higher than at any time before. Therefore, it is the main factor that determines the priorities of modern people.


In conclusion, the main difference between the modern and Renaissance societies is development speed. Due to modern technologies, people can communicate at an enormous pace. Business and trade have experienced unprecedented growth. However, it has certain drawbacks as well. People have busier schedules and cannot dedicate their time to things of their interests. However, it is a logical continuation of the processes that started in the early Renaissance.


Agnew, J. A., & Duncan, J. S. (Eds.). (2014). The power of place (RLE Social & Cultural Geography): Bringing together geographical and sociological imaginations. New York, NY: Routledge.

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Burke, P. (2014). The Italian Renaissance: culture and society in Italy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

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