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Bassani​ ​1

Vianna​ ​Bassani

Mr.​ ​White

AP​ ​European​ ​History

1​ ​December​ ​2016

Political,​ ​Religious,​ ​and​ ​Social​ ​Factors​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Scientific​ ​Revolution

In​ ​Europe,​ ​during​ ​the​ ​sixteenth​ ​and​ ​seventeenth​ ​centuries,​ ​a​ ​new​ ​movement​ ​of​ ​scientific

logic​ ​and​ ​reasoning​ ​evolved​ ​into​ ​what​ ​is​ ​known​ ​as​ ​the​ ​Scientific​ ​Revolution.​ ​During​ ​this​ ​time,

previous​ ​ideas​ ​about​ ​life​ ​were​ ​changed​ ​from​ ​scholasticism​ ​to​ ​proven​ ​scientific​ ​evidence.​ ​With

ideas​ ​of​ ​centralization,​ ​secularism,​ ​and​ ​social​ ​mobility,​ ​the​ ​scientific​ ​revolution​ ​was​ ​able​ ​to​ ​take

off​ ​and​ ​become​ ​a​ ​critical​ ​movement​ ​for​ ​modern​ ​thinking​ ​and​ ​logic.​ ​Political,​ ​religious,​ ​and

social​ ​factors​ ​led​ ​to​ ​the​ ​development​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Scientific​ ​Revolution​ ​but​ ​were​ ​not​ ​able​ ​to​ ​fully

develop​ ​during​ ​the​ ​sixteenth​ ​and​ ​seventeenth​ ​centuries.

Centralization​ ​and​ ​nationalism​ ​allowed​ ​for​ ​a​ ​spread​ ​of​ ​ideas​ ​during​ ​the​ ​Scientific

Revolution.​ ​After​ ​the​ ​100​ ​Years’​ ​War,​ ​the​ ​idea​ ​of​ ​nationalism​ ​allowed​ ​monarchs​ ​to​ ​centralize

into​ ​strong,​ ​Constitutional​ ​and​ ​Absolute​ ​Monarchs.​ ​Whether​ ​it​ ​be​ ​a​ ​parliamentary​ ​or​ ​absolute

system,​ ​ideas​ ​were​ ​able​ ​to​ ​spread​ ​through​ ​wealth​ ​and​ ​power.​ ​Jean​ ​Baptiste​ ​Colbert,​ ​a​ ​French

finance​ ​minister​ ​under​ ​Louis​ ​XIV,​ ​wrote​ ​in​ ​a​ ​letter​ ​that,​ ​“displaying​ ​at​ ​home​ ​an​ ​abundance​ ​of

wealth...[causes]​ ​the​ ​arts​ ​and​ ​sciences​ ​to​ ​flourish”​ ​(Doc​ ​11).​ ​Wealth​ ​was​ ​a​ ​sense​ ​of​ ​power​ ​in

Europe​ ​and​ ​allowed​ ​for​ ​more​ ​scientific​ ​discoveries.​ ​Thomas​ ​Hobbes,​ ​an​ ​English​ ​philosopher,

had​ ​a​ ​strong​ ​stance​ ​on​ ​the​ ​human​ ​desire​ ​for​ ​power.​ ​Hobbes​ ​believed​ ​that​ ​if​ ​ideas​ ​are​ ​“conflicted

with​ ​the​ ​interests​ ​of​ ​those​ ​who​ ​rule,​ ​[he]​ ​know[s]​ ​it​ ​would​ ​be​ ​suppressed”​ ​(Doc​ ​7).​ ​This​ ​is

especially​ ​seen​ ​with​ ​the​ ​rule​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Roman​ ​Catholic​ ​Church,​ ​where​ ​reforms​ ​were​ ​suppressed​ ​to
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maintain​ ​power.​ ​Political​ ​rulers,​ ​such​ ​as​ ​kings​ ​and​ ​nobles,​ ​had​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​political​ ​influence​ ​with

the​ ​discoveries​ ​that​ ​could​ ​be​ ​published​ ​during​ ​the​ ​Scientific​ ​Revolution.​ ​Marin​ ​Mersenne,​ ​a

French​ ​monk​ ​and​ ​natural​ ​philosopher,​ ​in​ ​a​ ​letter​ ​to​ ​his​ ​noble​ ​patron​ ​wrote,​ ​“If​ ​you​ ​object​ ​to

anything,​ ​I​ ​am​ ​ready​ ​to​ ​remove​ ​it​ ​entirely...Whatever​ ​may​ ​be,​ ​the​ ​whole​ ​thing​ ​is​ ​up​ ​to​ ​you”​ ​(Doc

5).​ ​Mersenne​ ​is​ ​restricting​ ​his​ ​scientific​ ​findings​ ​to​ ​the​ ​thoughts​ ​of​ ​his​ ​noble​ ​patron,​ ​which

causes​ ​an​ ​annihilation​ ​of​ ​ideas​ ​that​ ​could​ ​change​ ​the​ ​world.​ ​With​ ​the​ ​advancements​ ​in​ ​science,

politics​ ​still​ ​regulated​ ​how​ ​ideas​ ​could​ ​be​ ​shared,​ ​causing​ ​a​ ​decrease​ ​in​ ​proven​ ​material​ ​that

could​ ​be​ ​utilized.

Secularism​ ​opened​ ​up​ ​the​ ​world​ ​of​ ​scientific​ ​discoveries​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Scientific​ ​Revolution.

When​ ​the​ ​Great​ ​Schism​ ​occurred​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Late​ ​Middle​ ​Ages,​ ​art​ ​moved​ ​away​ ​from​ ​religious

subjects​ ​and​ ​reforms​ ​in​ ​Christianity​ ​were​ ​made.​ ​The​ ​idea​ ​of​ ​physico-theology​ ​allowed​ ​for​ ​a

change​ ​in​ ​herited​ ​views,​ ​changing​ ​thinking​ ​from​ ​symbolic​ ​and​ ​sacramental​ ​beliefs,​ ​to​ ​logic​ ​and

reason.​ ​Francis​ ​Bacon,​ ​a​ ​scientist,​ ​made​ ​many​ ​attacks​ ​upon​ ​scholasticism​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to​ ​promote​ ​the

sciences.​ ​John​ ​Calvin,​ ​a​ ​French​ ​Protestant​ ​theologian,​ ​agrees​ ​with​ ​the​ ​ideas​ ​of​ ​Francis​ ​Bacon

with​ ​his​ ​Commentaries​ ​on​ ​the​ ​First​ ​Book​ ​of​ ​Moses​.​ ​He​ ​states,​ ​“astronomy​ ​is​ ​not​ ​only​ ​pleasant,

but​ ​also​ ​very​ ​useful:​ ​it​ ​cannot​ ​be​ ​denied​ ​that​ ​this​ ​art​ ​unfolds​ ​the​ ​admirable​ ​wisdom​ ​of​ ​God”​ ​(Doc

2).​ ​Astronomy​ ​and​ ​other​ ​sciences​ ​were​ ​used​ ​as​ ​a​ ​way​ ​to​ ​discover​ ​the​ ​mysteries​ ​with​ ​God​ ​and​ ​to

bring​ ​people​ ​closer​ ​to​ ​him.​ ​Religion​ ​influenced​ ​the​ ​discoveries​ ​that​ ​were​ ​made​ ​because​ ​there​ ​will

still​ ​tension​ ​between​ ​church​ ​and​ ​scientists.​ ​In​ ​a​ ​letter​ ​to​ ​Galileo,​ ​Giovanni​ ​Ciampoli,​ ​an​ ​Italian

Monk,​ ​requests​ ​that​ ​Galileo,​ ​“defer​ ​to​ ​the​ ​authority​ ​of​ ​those​ ​who​ ​have​ ​jurisdiction​ ​over​ ​the

human​ ​intellect​ ​in​ ​matters​ ​of​ ​the​ ​interpretation​ ​of​ ​scripture”​ ​(Doc​ ​3).​ ​Since​ ​Giovanni​ ​Ciampoli​ ​is

an​ ​Italian​ ​monk,​ ​he​ ​is​ ​biased​ ​towards​ ​the​ ​fact​ ​that​ ​science​ ​does​ ​not​ ​have​ ​the​ ​authority​ ​to
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determine​ ​truth.​ ​He​ ​believes​ ​truth​ ​is​ ​in​ ​the​ ​interpretation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​scripture,​ ​and​ ​that​ ​it​ ​done​ ​by

those​ ​who​ ​understand​ ​it,​ ​such​ ​as​ ​a​ ​monk​ ​himself.​ ​Although​ ​there​ ​were​ ​advancements​ ​in​ ​science

that​ ​were​ ​influenced​ ​by​ ​religion,​ ​these​ ​ideas​ ​could​ ​not​ ​move​ ​forward​ ​due​ ​to​ ​the​ ​tensions​ ​from​ ​the

church.

Increased​ ​intellect​ ​and​ ​social​ ​mobility​ ​began​ ​the​ ​process​ ​of​ ​scientific​ ​discoveries​ ​in​ ​the

sixteenth​ ​and​ ​seventeenth​ ​centuries.​ ​After​ ​the​ ​Late​ ​Middle​ ​Ages​ ​and​ ​during​ ​the​ ​Renaissance,​ ​the

idea​ ​of​ ​humanism​ ​made​ ​a​ ​profound​ ​impact​ ​on​ ​the​ ​way​ ​people​ ​acted​ ​and​ ​thought.​ ​Also,​ ​with​ ​the

invention​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Printing​ ​Press,​ ​there​ ​were​ ​intellectual​ ​advancements,​ ​making​ ​people​ ​more

informed​ ​about​ ​the​ ​world​ ​around​ ​them.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​the​ ​foundation​ ​that​ ​would​ ​set​ ​the​ ​base​ ​for​ ​the

Scientific​ ​Revolution.​ ​Universities​ ​were​ ​made​ ​and​ ​allowed​ ​for​ ​there​ ​to​ ​be​ ​an​ ​increase​ ​in

scientific​ ​knowledge​ ​and​ ​reasoning.​ ​Henry​ ​Oldenbury,​ ​a​ ​secretary​ ​of​ ​the​ ​English​ ​Royal​ ​Society,

wrote​ ​in​ ​a​ ​letter​ ​to​ ​Johannes​ ​Hevelius​ ​that​ ​“friendship​ ​should​ ​be​ ​spread​ ​through​ ​the​ ​whole​ ​world

of​ ​learning...philosophy​ ​would​ ​then​ ​be​ ​raised​ ​to​ ​its​ ​greatest​ ​heights”​ ​(Doc​ ​6).​ ​The​ ​Royal​ ​Society

of​ ​London​ ​is​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​most​ ​famous​ ​institutions​ ​for​ ​science.​ ​Scientists​ ​were​ ​able​ ​to​ ​join​ ​together

and​ ​discuss​ ​different​ ​scientific​ ​ideas​ ​to​ ​make​ ​more​ ​advancements.​ ​Without​ ​the​ ​rise​ ​of​ ​the​ ​middle

and​ ​artisan​ ​class​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Late​ ​Middle​ ​Ages,​ ​the​ ​majority​ ​of​ ​these​ ​discoveries​ ​would​ ​not​ ​have​ ​been

made.​ ​Although​ ​these​ ​institutions​ ​were​ ​a​ ​new​ ​way​ ​of​ ​learning​ ​and​ ​discovery,​ ​old​ ​patterns​ ​of

gender​ ​inequality​ ​stunted​ ​the​ ​growth​ ​of​ ​advancements​ ​and​ ​known​ ​knowledge.​ ​Women,​ ​even

from​ ​before​ ​the​ ​Middle​ ​Ages,​ ​suffered​ ​with​ ​inequality.​ ​This​ ​did​ ​not​ ​change​ ​during​ ​the​ ​Scientific

Revolution,​ ​as​ ​women​ ​could​ ​not​ ​take​ ​part​ ​in​ ​scientific​ ​discussions.​ ​Margaret​ ​Cavendish,​ ​an

English​ ​natural​ ​philosopher,​ ​wrote​ ​argued​ ​that​ ​if​ ​it​ ​were​ ​“allowable​ ​for​ ​[their]​ ​sex,​ ​[she]​ ​might

have​ ​set​ ​up​ ​[her]​ ​own​ ​school​ ​of​ ​natural​ ​philosophy”​ ​but​ ​she​ ​knew​ ​it​ ​would​ ​not​ ​be​ ​respected​ ​and
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would​ ​be​ ​a​ ​“disregard​ ​of​ ​the​ ​female​ ​sex”​ ​(Doc​ ​9).​ ​Being​ ​a​ ​women​ ​during​ ​the​ ​Scientific

Revolution,​ ​Margaret​ ​Cavendish​ ​would​ ​have​ ​first​ ​hand​ ​experience​ ​of​ ​being​ ​left​ ​out​ ​of

discussions.​ ​Even​ ​though​ ​there​ ​has​ ​been​ ​social​ ​mobility​ ​with​ ​different​ ​classes​ ​and​ ​even​ ​some

women,​ ​it​ ​was​ ​not​ ​able​ ​to​ ​fully​ ​develop​ ​due​ ​to​ ​old​ ​practices.

The​ ​sixteenth​ ​and​ ​seventeenth​ ​centuries​ ​saw​ ​political,​ ​religious,​ ​and​ ​social​ ​factors​ ​that​ ​led

to​ ​the​ ​development​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Scientific​ ​Revolution,​ ​but​ ​ultimately​ ​still​ ​hindered​ ​it.​ ​New

advancements​ ​were​ ​made,​ ​but​ ​they​ ​still​ ​reflected​ ​ideas​ ​of​ ​the​ ​church​ ​and​ ​politics,​ ​along​ ​with​ ​the

exclusion​ ​of​ ​certain​ ​groups​ ​of​ ​people.​ ​Although​ ​the​ ​process​ ​of​ ​the​ ​advancements​ ​were​ ​slowed,​ ​it

still​ ​began​ ​a​ ​movement​ ​of​ ​new​ ​thinking​ ​for​ ​Europe.​ ​These​ ​new​ ​discoveries​ ​would​ ​lead​ ​to​ ​the

Enlightenment,​ ​when​ ​people​ ​would​ ​become​ ​more​ ​aware​ ​of​ ​the​ ​world​ ​around​ ​them.​ ​The​ ​scientific

discoveries​ ​made​ ​were​ ​able​ ​to​ ​evolve​ ​and​ ​be​ ​studied​ ​by​ ​future​ ​scientists,​ ​building​ ​off​ ​one​ ​another

to​ ​create​ ​to​ ​create​ ​the​ ​Enlightenment​ ​and​ ​moving​ ​the​ ​world​ ​closer​ ​to​ ​modern​ ​times.​ ​The

Scientific​ ​Revolution​ ​set​ ​the​ ​way​ ​for​ ​modern​ ​ideas​ ​and​ ​thoughts​ ​with​ ​science,​ ​making​ ​humans

today​ ​more​ ​informed​ ​about​ ​the​ ​world​ ​around​ ​them​ ​today,​ ​than​ ​ever​ ​before.