IGNOU world history notes.pdf - MHI-02 Modern World[32 Block-1 Theories of the Modern World[3 Unit-1 Renaissance and the Idea of the Individual Unit-2

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Unformatted text preview: MHI-02 Modern World : [32] Block-1 Theories of the Modern World : [3] Unit-1 Renaissance and the Idea of the Individual Unit-2 The Enlightenment Unit-3 Critiques of Enlightenment Block-2 Modern World: Essential Components : [3] Unit-4 Theories of the State Unit-5 Capitalist Economy and its Critique Unit-6 The Social Structure Block-3 The Modern State and Politics : [4] Unit-7 Bureaucratization Unit-8 Democratic Politics Unit-9 Modern State and Welfare Unit-10 Nationalism Block-4 Capitalism and Industrialization : [4] Unit-11 Commercial Capitalism Unit-12 Capitalist Industrialization Unit-13 Socialist Industrialization Unit-14 Underdevelopment Block-5 Expansion of Europe : [5] Unit-15 Conquest and Appropriation Unit-16 Migrations and Settlements Unit-17 Imperialism Unit-18 Colonialism Unit-19 Decolonization Block-6 International Relations : [3] Unit-20 Nation-State System Unit-21 International Rivalries of Twentieth Century Unit-22 The Unipolar World and Counter-Currents Block-7 Revolutions : [4] Unit-23 Political Revolution: France Unit-24 Political Revolution: Russia Unit-25 Knowledge Revolution: Printing and Informatics Unit-26 Technological Revolution: Communications and Medical Block-8 Violence and Repression : [3] Unit-27 Modern Warfare Unit-28 Total War Unit-29 Violence by Non-State Actors Block-9 Dilemmas of Development : [3] Unit-30 Demography Unit-31 Ecology Unit-32 Consumerism UNIT 1 RENAIASSANCE AND THE IDEA OF THE INDIVIDUAL Structure 1.1 Introduction 1.2 The Invention of the Idea 1.3 Developments in Italy 1.4 New Groups: Lawyers and Notaries 1.5 Humanism 1.6 New Education 1.7 Print 1.8 Secular Openings 1.9 Realism vs. Moralism 1.10 Summary 1.11 Glossary 1.1 INTRODUCTION This is the first Unit of the course and is being treated as the entry point to an understanding of modern world. ‘Renaissance’ is an Italian word meaning re-birth. But over the last two centuries the word has come to acquire a new meaning. Renaissance as we understand it today is associated with major social and cultural developments in Europe between the 13th and the 15th centuries. The contribution of the Renaissance to the emergence of modernity in early modern Europe has been for many years an appropriate entry point to the history of the modern world. However much intellectuals of the third world dislike such an euro-centric vision, there is no escape from the fact that it was in renaissance Italy and subsequently in certain parts of the sixteenth century Europe that a new view of man as a creative individual possessing the power to shape his destiny without depending on god became a major inspiration for social thinking and political action. In a loose sense this is what is conveyed by what we know as renaissance humanism. Michelangelo’s painting of the creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel, in an artistic sense was a celebration of the newly discovered greatness of man. The idea of a free and creative man was not however a consequence of renaissance social thought alone. Reformation, which came quickly on the heels of the Renaissance also, made its distinct contribution to a spirit of self-consciousness by privatizing religious practice and Protestantism fundamentally fostered an individualistic psyche. MICHELANGELO, The Creation of Adam (About 1511) 7 Theories of the Modern World 1.2 THE INVENTION OF THE IDEA It is interesting to know that, prior to the 19th century, the major socio-cultural developments in Europe during the 13th- 15th centuries were not understood and codified as renaissance. In this section you will become familiar with the process in which renaissance became a part of our knowledge. In 1860, Jakob Burckhardt formulated the influential concepts of ‘Renaissance’ and ‘humanism’, in his pioneering masterpiece of cultural history, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. Burckhardt’s book was a “subtle synthesis of opinions about the Renaissance that had grown powerful during the Age of the Enlightenment”. He seemed to be confirming a story told by secular, liberal intellectuals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries who were searching for the origins of their own beliefs and values, that after the collapse of classical civilization a period of darkness and barbarism had set in, dominated by the church and the humdrum of rural life. Eventually, however, a revival of commerce and urban life laid the foundations for a secular and even anti-religious vision of life. The new vision, which glorified the individual and the attractions of earthly life were strongly reinforced by the rediscovery of the pagan literature of the Antiquity. The new secular and individualistic values, which were somewhat incompatible with Christian beliefs, constituted a new worldly philosophy of life known as ‘humanism’, drawing its main ideas and inspiration from ancient times. Humanism subsequently became the inspiration for questioning the moral basis of the feudal and Christian inheritances in Europe. Burkhardt’s work, which dominated the 19th century perception about the Renaissance, came to be subjected to criticisms later. For a time in the late 1940s and the 1950s, the very idea of a Renaissance came under attack, when the rich growth of scholarship on medieval history made the inherited view of a dark and uncivilized Middle Ages look untenable, “as medievalists discovered squarely in the Middle Ages all the essential traits supposedly typical of the later period, and also discovered within the Renaissance many traditional elements which seemed to prove that the Middle Ages lived on into the Renaissance”. Medievalists found renaissances in the sense of periods of classical revival in Carolingian France, Anglo-Saxon England and Ottonian Germany. One of these medieval revivals, the ‘twelfth-century Renaissance’, became a subject of major historical enquiries, since the coinage of the term by Charles Homer Haskins in his The renaissance of the Twelfth Century (1927). Haskins maintained that the term ‘renaissance’, in the sense of an enthusiasm for classical literature, was an important feature of the twelfth century and that this cultural renewal was the ancestor of subsequent civilizational progress in early modern Europe. 8 Yet historians have not discarded fully the concept and the term ‘Renaissance’ in the sense Burckhardt had used it. For historical realities, which Burckhardt had described, cannot be dismissed with quibbles about terminology. Burckhardt rightly saw the emergence of a new culture and also located one of its main sources in Italian humanism by linking it to a unique set of social, political, and economic conditions. This new culture might seem to be the product of the growth of commerce and cities in northern Italy from the late eleventh century. But urban growth and commercial expansion since the 11th century, does not explain why the new culture flowered almost at the end of the 14th century even as it is true that Italy during the 12th and 13th centuries had become the most highly developed, the wealthiest and the most urbanized region of Europe. The urban and commercial growth of Italy stands in contrast to other parts of Europe in the north of the Alps, where the scholastic philosophy, Gothic art, and vernacular literature of these centuries were clearly associated with the clergy and the feudal aristocracy of the medieval age. 1.3 DEVELOPMENTS IN ITALY Renaissance and the Idea of the Individual Italy too was not totally free of this older aristocratic and clerical culture. Yet the dynamic part of Italy, the north, was dominated not by clerics and feudal nobles but by wealthy urban merchants, ‘and during the 12th and 13th centuries, the cities of northern Italy in alliance with the popes broke the military and political power of the German kings, who called themselves Roman emperors and attempted to assert control over northern Italy’. Strong, centralizing monarchy of the kinds that developed in France and England did not emerge in Italy. Northern Italy was dotted with virtually independent urban republics. Although the people of these urban communities were deeply religious people, the position of the clergy in Italian city life was marginal. The cities were governed by wealthy merchants and the dependent petty traders and artisans, though from the 13th century, more and more of them came under the control of military despots who offered protection from internal disorder and external invasion. Most of these Italian towns existed as markets for local communities, as links between the surrounding country and the distant markets, generally purchasing its cereals from the vicinity. A few large urban formations, like Genoa or Florence, were centres of international trade, which had expanded so enormously during the 12th and 13th centuries that the urban communities in such sprawling towns became larger than the usual small communities in the city republics. The administration of these towns came to depend increasingly on a professional civil service with legal training. As the activity of the towns became more complex, they came to gradually acquire permanent civic institutions including a class of magistrates. This was the time when the communities came to display features of a city-state. The city-states in practice were republican oligarchies where crucial decisions were taken by a small minority of office-holding wealthy merchants, even though a considerable part of the male population was recruited in the citizen’s militia. Over time however, the existence of the city republic in many instances became precarious. The townsmen were fighting each other, a feature that Machiavelli, the great Florentine thinker of renaissance Italy explained as a result of enmity between the wealthy and the poor. The situation was further complicated by factional rivalries within the ruling groups. The city councils became so divided along factional lines that in most cities before the end of the 14th century the regime of a single individual began to be increasingly preferred. To escape the problem of civic strife, most cities turned from republicanism to signoria (the rule of one man), who could either be a member of the urban aristocracy or a military captain who had been hired by the city councils for organising the city’s defence from external enemies. Republican survivals were exceptions, the rule of the signor became universal. With the exception of Venice, most Italian cities experienced this transformation. The signori in most cases chose to rule through existing republican institutions combining the hitherto antagonistic principles of municipalism and feudalism. The advent of signori resulted from the fragility of republican institutions, yet the triumph of the signori did not eliminate the need for scholar administrators. The citystates with enlarged functions including diplomacy, warfare, taxation and governance in an expanding and complex urban environment was an ideal breeding ground for a certain consciousness of citizenship. Whether it fostered individualism, as claimed by Burckhardt, still remains a problem. The kind of control that the municipal authorities imposed on traders and artisans fell far short of free private enterprise, yet it is possible to argue that the development of private wealth against the backdrop of an expanding commerce and a measure of involvement of the cities’ elites in the 9 Theories of the Modern World actual governance of the city were capable of reinforcing the individualist self consciousness in some of the city’s leading men. 1.4 NEW GROUPS: LAWYERS AND NOTARIES In a society where commerce dominated the scene the most important educated groups were the lawyers and the notaries (a combination of solicitor and record keeper) who drew up and interpreted the rules and written agreements without which trade on a large scale was not possible. With the growing scale of commerce there was an acute need for men skilled in drafting, recording, and authenticating contracts and letters. These were the notaries, specialists who did not need the long and costly education provided by law schools but who did receive training in Latin grammar and rhetoric. Such training in letter-writing and drafting legal documents was often given by apprenticeship, but at major centres of legal study such as Padua and Bologna, there were full-time professional teachers who taught not only the conventional legal forms of drafting various kinds of business documents and the correct type of handwriting for documents of public record but also provided some instruction in Roman law. Unlike in the middle ages when virtually all intellectual activities were carried on by churchmen, in the Italian cities this was pursued by members of the new professions. In more than one sense they were the real precursors to renaissance humanism. Padua, a university town especially noted for the study of law and medicine, produced enthusiasts for the language and literature of ancient Rome. An important figure in this movement was Lovato Lovati (c. 1240-1309) a judge who showed many characteristics of humanism. His younger contemporary Albertino Mussato (12611325), who was a notary by profession, became widely known throughout Italy. During this early phase of the growth of humanism, Florence, the city associated with the later flowering of humanistic culture, played a marginal role. The great Florentine literary and intellectual figure of this age, Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), is linked more with medieval rather than Renaissance culture whose generation in Florence, despite the persistence of old cultural beliefs, still thought about a certain conception of cultural renewal through reinterpretation of classical literature and a conscious repudiation of the values of medieval civilization. The arrival of Petrarch, a century later, brought about this change in Florentine culture, more decisively. Petrarch realised that antiquity was a distinctive civilization which could be understood better through the words and the languages of the ancients. Petrarch’s stress, therefore, was on grammar, which included the close reading of ancient authors from a linguistic point of view. With language, eloquence and the study of rhetoric, the ultimate purpose of this educational programme was to project a certain idea of good life that was suffused with secular meanings. 1.5 HUMANISM 10 Since the nineteenth century, historians have labeled this new culture as ‘humanism’, though it appears nowhere in the writings of the Renaissance period itself. The term that did exist was ‘humanistic studies’ (studia humanitatis), implying academic subjects favoured by humanists. By the first half of the fifteenth century, the term ‘humanist’ designated masters who taught academic subjects like grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history, and moral philosophy. They were members of a particular professional group who taught humanities and liberal arts – humanitas, a classical word earlier used by Cicero as a substitute for the Greek Paideia, or culture. Cicero was trying to make the point that it was only human beings who were capable of this knowledge about their own selves. Renaissance humanism, conceived as ‘a new philosophy of life’ or a glorification of human nature in secular terms, eludes precise definition. Indeed there is no definable set of common beliefs. More than a heightened sense of individualism, the primary characteristic, was the new pattern of historical consciousness that emerged first in the thought of leading 14th century . poet. Petrarch. The sense of being deeply engaged in the restoration of true civilization after many centuries of barbarian darkness – an unfair position at that - finds its first clear statement in the works of Petrarch, and some such claim is common to virtually all of those writers - like Salutati, Poggio, Valla and Ficino to name a few - whom historians identify as the leading personalities in the history of Italian humanism. The humanist self-image as free agents of civilization was sharpened by such historical consciousness which enabled them to distinguish their time as an age of light from the preceding one of darkness. They believed that a dark age had set in after the decline of the Roman Empire as a result of the invasion of the barbarians. The humanists belonging to different generations returned to this theme of belonging to a new time, inventing the concept of the middle ages between the collapse of Rome and the cultural renewal in the age of renaissance. Leonardo Bruni, for sometime the chancellor of Florence, in his history of Florence or Flavio Biondo in a work covering the period from the sack of Rome by Alaric in 410 A.D. to the writer’s own time betrayed this new sense of modernity. Renaissance and the Idea of the Individual The sense of the novelty of their age was entwined with a conscious imitation of the works of the ancient Greek and Roman writers. A certain consciousness of the newness of their time turned the great figures of renaissance into believers in progress. Without doubt, the poet Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca, 1304-74) was its first great figure, the real founder of the new culture, who tried to bring back to life the inner spirit of ancient Roman civilization. His love for ancient Latin literature was dovetailed with a repudiation of the inherited medieval culture. He transformed classicism into a weapon in a struggle to regenerate the world and to create a distinctive new culture built on the solid foundation of a lost but retrievable antiquity. 1.6 NEW EDUCATION Petrarch’s dream of a cultural and moral regeneration of Christian society, based on the union of eloquence and philosophy, had important implications for education. In late medieval and renaissance Italy, there were three types of schools other than the universities and schools conducted by religious orders exclusively for their own members. Most of the teaching at all three levels was done by self-employed schoolmasters who took tuition-paying pupils and, working either alone or with one assistant, taught them whatever subjects their parents paid for. But many towns in northern Italy also organized community schools, in which the local government selected and hired a schoolmaster, who was bound by a very specific contract to teach certain subjects up to a certain level. Communal schools began to appear in the13th century. Communal schools in small towns ensured that competent preparation for university study would be available for the sons of the ruling elites. Despite the growth of humanism, in the 14th century the curriculum of these schools did not change much. The textbooks used were predominantly medieval and Christian in origin, and many of them had been deliberately compiled for classroom use in teaching correct Latin and sound moral principles. This medieval curriculum aroused the contempt of Petrarch and virtually all later humanists, who attacked this curriculum on the ground that most of its intellectual content, was inadequate and that its moral indoctrination had no relevance in the lives of the citizens of Italian cities. Leonardo Bruni acknowledged that it was Petrarch who had outlined a programme of study 11 Theories of the Modern World by which the classical ideas would be achieved. It included grammar, rhetoric, poetry, moral philosophy and history. The humanists also insisted upon the mastery of classical Latin and Greek, so that the ancient authors could be studied directly to the exclusion of medieval commentaries. The humanists taught in a variety of ways. Some founded their own schools where students could study the new curriculum at both elementary and advance levels; some humanists managed to find their way into universities where teaching continued to be dominated by law, medicine and theology and the humanist curriculum had a peripheral presence. The majority achieved their mission by teaching in nume...
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