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The Beginning of the Modern Era in England - Case Study Example

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The paper 'The Beginning of the Modern Era in England' presents the period of the ‘Reformation’ at the beginning of the 16th century. It must first and foremost be understood as a newfound belief in the ‘progress’ of humanity, whereby the ‘golden age in the past’…
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The Beginning of the Modern Era in England
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Download file to see previous pages The latter was also true for England, although here too this was by no means a uniform process. The new philosophical doctrines, a new attitude to knowledge and technical innovation combined to propel England into the modern age. By1789 England had developed into a relatively modern society in institutional and economic sectors and in some areas of private life, although there was still a working-class that was excluded from privileges, evidence of religious intolerance, and strong monarchical influence, albeit more by custom than law. Emphasis will here be on the sectors of English society that were already modernizing rather than on those that had as yet significant obstacles to overcome, due to the brevity of the paper.
To gain a sense of the extent to which England was ‘modern’ in 1789, it is necessary to map out the political, economic, and human landscape before modernity. This had been dominated by feudal empires, with clearly defined class distinctions, under the control of powerful sovereigns, and under the aegis of God, by way of the papacy (Laski 12). The philosophies underpinning feudal societies were highly theological in nature, subordinated the individual to the overall goal of salvation and the absolute control of the monarch, and severely restricted individual and economic activity. This ‘status quo’ was challenged with the Reformation, which eventually broke the papal monopoly and substituted the church with the prince, only to be substituted in turn with the Parliament by ‘Locke and his school’ (Laski 46). Thinkers of the period of struggle that followed were reconsidering every aspect of life, from new concepts of morality and ‘social contract’ to new understandings of ‘wealth’, the powers of the state, and its relationship with the individual. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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