Politics and the Economy in the Renaissance
Politics and the Economy
In the days of the Black Death, Italy was not a unified nation. It was a collection of politically independent city-states whose people shared a common ethnic, cultural, religious, and linguistic heritage. These city-states were ruled by wealthy middle-class families who seized and clung to political power because this was the best way to further their business interests.
Florence was especially important in the Renaissance because its economy recovered quickly from the Black Death and the city enjoyed a period of great prosperity. The Medici family ruled the city of Florence for most of the 1400s. This stupendously wealthy family of bankers and importers used and invested its money in two areas. The first was patronage of the arts; the Medicis sponsored many of the most significant artistic achievements of the period. The second was financial loans to the Church. By being the Church’s banker, the Medici family gained a significant amount of influence over Church policies. Strong family ties to the papacy gave the Medicis virtual control of Rome as well as Florence. In the 1480s, a Medici married the son of Pope Innocent VIII. In 1513, Giovanni de’ Medici became Pope Leo X.
This table shows the most prominent members of the Medici family and their major achievements.
The political insights of Niccolò Machiavelli, born in Florence in 1469, remain highly influential even today. Machiavelli’s most famous work is a short discourse titled The Prince, published in 1513. In an obvious bid for employment, Machiavelli dedicated The Prince to Giuliano de’ Medici. It is a treatise explaining how to gain and hold absolute political power. What made the book so revolutionary was its frank assertion that a prince should not hesitate to act treacherously or dishonestly in order to keep his power. He should not be swayed by considerations of ethics or religion. Machiavelli’s realistic approach to politics is as relevant today as it was in his own time.
Practice questions for these concepts can be found at:
Today on Education.com
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Child Development Theories
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- The Homework Debate
- Graduation Inspiration: Top 10 Graduation Quotes
- Social Cognitive Theory
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- First Grade Sight Words List