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Word Count: 781
THE EARLY RENAISSANCE The early Renaissance period was a time of new awakenings It was a slow emergence of self-awareness and human potential Where exactly the period began is debated both then and now and truly does not have a clear and distinct division between the Middle Ages However it was after the bubonic plaque or Black Death as it was called had wiped out half of the population of Europe And the population decrease had led to an economic depression Once the incidence of the plaque decreased in the late fifteenth century populations swelled creating a new demand for goods and services A new middle class began to emerge as bankers merchants and tradespeople once again had a market for their goods and services The word Renaissance means rebirth and the period explicitly seen by its leaders as a rebirth of our understanding of ourselves as social and creative beings Out of the sick Gothic night our eyes are opened to the glorious touch of the sun was how Rabelais expressed what most of his educated contemporaries felt This rebirth was seen felt and lived in most aspects of the peoples lives during that time What was real or perceived to be real was the center of their importance It was seen as a shift in cultural emphasis Capitalism or mercantilism arose as the new economic system It corresponded perfectly with the new awareness of self worth In all facets of society the Renaissance placed new emphasis on the individual and on individual achievement It was suddenly okay to think of oneself and do for oneself to further the social status of oneself Capitalism brought forth a challenge to both men and women of this period It challenged them to pursue their own individual goals These goals usually involved pursuing a better standard of living using all of their individual intelligence and abilities As
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