The Beginnings of Modern Europe (1250-1450)

By Ephraim Emerton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
THE RISE OF A MIDDLE CLASS

POPULAR MOVEMENTS IN THE NORTH

What has been said of the democratic movement in Italy is true, with certain changes of emphasis, in the other countries of Europe. Even where, as in England and France, powerful monarchies were steadily gaining in their determined fight against feudal and clerical privilege, it is evident from early in the thirteenth century that a People is rising into view. It begins to demand rights and gets them; it organizes under leadership as able as any its enemies can put forward against it. It learns to bear arms and to use them in gaining its point. Even if it does not, as it did in Switzerland, become the actual governing power, it teaches governments that they can no longer afford to overlook it or to do without it.

Rise of the
People

We have seen that the growth of popular governments in Italy rested not upon any theories whatever as to rights of the people but upon immediate and practical necessities. The same may be said of similar movements elsewhere, but it was not long before theoretical principles were found by which what had happened could be defended and explained. The most important basis for all such principles is to be seen in the great change which, from the beginning of the fourteenth century, began to come over the minds of men in their ways of thinking about all speculative subjects. Down to that time there had prevailed everywhere a method of thought called "Realism," which taught that so-called "general ideas" were "real" and that individual things, persons or what not, were

The "Nomi-
nalistic" Philosophy

-164-

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The Beginnings of Modern Europe (1250-1450)
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • Contents xiii
  • LIST OF MAPS xiv
  • The Beginnings of Modern Europe 1
  • Chapter II- The New Empire 47
  • Chapter III- (1300-1409) 106
  • Chapter IV- The Rise of a Middle Class 164
  • Chapter V- The Italian Republics to 1300 215
  • Chapter VI- The Hundred Years'' War 252
  • Chapter VII- The Age of the Councils 311
  • Chapter VIII- The Age of the Despots in Italy 358
  • Chapter IX- The Renaissance in Italy 461
  • Chapter X- The Northern Renaissance 509
  • Index 535
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