Impact of the Bourgeoisie on Exploration During the Age of Discovery

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Impact of the Bourgeoisie on Exploration During the Age of Discovery Thesis: Most people believe that The Age of Discovery was the product of a handful of adventurous explorers. They were an important part of this Age, but theirs was not the main motivation. I believe however, that the Bourgeoisie provided the impetus of this Age. The Bourgeoisie, a social class most distinct from the rest, remains one of the most influential economic leaders throughout Europe during the Age of Discovery. Exploration and newfound wealth drove this class into being so powerful that their presence threatened the Aristocracy and social strata. Let it be known that the drive behind the bourgeoisie was not centered as much on religion as it was on money and power. The real reasons for discovery as we are told, "Gold, God and Glory," remain somewhat true. In the case of the Bourgeoisie, "Gold and Glory" continued to be their compelling force in discovering new lands. The term, "Bourgeoisie", goes back as far as the ninth and tenth century Germanic word "burg". While upper classes such as the Nobility and Knights sheltered themselves in blockhouses, the freemen dwelled among the villages. When they needed shelter or protection from threatening danger, they hid (Bergen), and did so in fortresses called "burgs". The word "burg" became a name for these people. In the Dark Ages, this group of people occupied the small merchant population. Later, the word was changed to "burghers" or "bergers" because the "berg" members lost their association of a military and administrative center and then earned the title, "a privileged urban community" instead. When it became an international word, "burgher/berger" came into French usage as "Bourgeois/Bourgeo... ... middle of paper ... ...were major contributions of the Bourgeoisie as well as the investment, banking, and currency systems. Bourgeoisie wealth enhanced Europe’s knowledge of the New World and the New World gave the Bourgeoisie fortunes. Literature shows much evidence of this class being solely responsible for discovery and success; their main drive being Gold and Glory! Works Cited: Adams, Jeremy DuQuesnay. Patterns of Medieval Society. Prentice Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 1969. Bullard, Melissa M. Filippo Strozzi and the Medici. Cambridge University Press, NY. 1980. Cohn, Johnathan. "The Naming of America: Vespucci’s Good Name". Cohen-01.art@www.millersv.edu Palm, Charles, F. The Middle Classes Then and Now. The Macmillian Co. NY. 1936. Sensenig, Pearl L. "Marco Polo: An Inspiration to Christopher Columbus and The Age of Discovery". Sensen01.cwk@millersv.edu

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