The Periods of Renaissance & Reformation, Industrial Revolution and Contemporary World

Table of Contents


Science and technology have advanced human civilization and changed the world in many ways. The rapid development of knowledge has taken several hundred years and led to the world of modern advancements. Some of the most significant periods in history are the Renaissance and the Reformation which took place in 1300-1650, Industrial Revolution 1700-1900 and the Contemporary World from 1945 to present.

General overview

The Renaissance period brought major cultural changes to the society and people’s individual lives. One of the most important technological advancements was made by Johannes Gutenberg in the printing technique. Books became widely available, thus making recorded history and the passage of knowledge and information much easier than before.

This was the time of the beginning of technological advancements, as mechanisms became a part of human life and produced much greater work and production output. Sciences were also on the rise—geography, physics, mathematics, chemistry, and astronomy became a part of society. At the same time, such fast development has seen some opposition from the government and society, as people tended to lean towards humanities and politics and considered exact sciences as unneeded and useless.

Nonetheless, the intellectual growth continued through people becoming better engineers, and the evidence of that can be seen in the buildings that are still standing today. The chemistry was somewhat non-existent, as alchemy was the predominant form of science. People have been trying to make gold out of other substances but have seen no success. This is thought to be one of the earliest forms of chemistry that evolved into modern-day science.

Astronomy was also starting to emerge as an important part of the world. Previously, the Earth was thought to be the center of the solar system, but this fact was changed by Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei. Medicine and the study of the human body were another aspects in the development of humanity, and there were many tests run about drugs and medicines that were not used before the period (“Periods: Renaissance” par. 2).

The technology and use of clocks and watches was another dominant aspect of the time. People have begun to use time in a much different way, as now it could be better controlled and monitored. The weapons industry was also on the rise, as artillery and gunpowder have become major advancements in the warfare. Anything that had to deal with magnification, such as a microscope, spectacles, eyeglasses, and telescopes was largely perfected.

This opened up a whole new world to people, as they were able to see life beyond their own existence and discover new ways of how living things functioned in the world. Leonardo da Vinci is another major figure in the history of the time, as he has drawn up many plans and concepts for future technology.

His drawings of a submarine, for example, were perfected only a hundred years later (Graham-Dixon 40). Overall, the renaissance period is thought to be an important moment in history that changed the world and led to the progress that can be observed today.

The Industrial Revolution was the next period that has changed the world forever. Mass production, engineering industry have raised to unpredictable and unexpected heights. Machines and all sorts of mechanisms became instrumental in everyday life. Agriculture was now aided by machines, which greatly increased the number of grown cultures (Montagna par. 8). Coal became widespread and was used in the industry to contrast machines, different tools, and buildings.

The textile industry has had many inventions that advanced cotton production and manufacture of cloth. Creativity has become a daily phenomenon, and people became infatuated by the idea of further development. The railroad played an important role in the onset of the industrial revolution, as it became a way to transport large amounts of goods and people. The tracks were bettered, as the mining industry was booming as well.

This period can be seen as an incomparable explosion of building and city growth. The population was growing, together with the production and cities. One of the positives of the industrial revolution era was the number of jobs that became available to the population. People gained an opportunity to make a better living and contribute to society.

New factories were being built at a pace that was not imagined previously, with new technology and sources of energy developing at the same pace. Unfortunately, some drawbacks were poor working conditions, lack of social control, and much-needed housing, education, and healthcare. The division between social classes became more visible, as middle and upper classes have got a chance for much faster advancement, comparing to the lower class.

The Civil War was one of the major ending points of the period. It has brought many changes, as the roots for the causes were very deep, going back to the constitution, justice, and support of the government that people had. The system of government was somewhat weak, and so, there was no strict government that could take control of society.

The industrialized parts were well established while others had to rely on slavery and small-time farms, with the production of cotton and tobacco. This was a breaking period in history where the old life and ways were being changed to a modernized and industrialized pace. There was a lot of trading with Europe, which was the base economic support and has led to a shift in the way people conducted business and organized companies (Goloboy 49).

But the biggest shift in the lives of people is observed at the end of the 19th century, and it continues today. The World Wars have shaken the world up and pushed it forward through the development of weapons of mass destruction. It was one of the darkest times in human history, and after it has ended, people started a new world.

The use of technology has become an everyday occurrence. People are dependent on it in almost all aspects of life. For the most part, it has made life easier and more practical, but in some instances, it has put a major dent in the relationships between people and societies. Computers, television, communication devices, and personal gadgets have given people a chance to lead a life that was not possible previously.

Technology is most beneficial when looking at mass production and products and services that are made with the help of advanced technology. The cleaner and more efficient cars and other methods of transportation have benefited society and particularly those who require some form of help to move around. But in some parts of life, technology has distanced people from one another. The communication over large distances makes people closer and unites relatives who could not talk previously.

The availability of video calling has made communication much more accessible. But, unfortunately, people get so focused on the distant communication through phones and computers that the need for face-to-face communication has become useless. The development of social networks and the use of the internet have made communication between people a form of social status.

People focus on the way their Facebook page looks; they pay great attention to the number of pictures they post, several responses that they receive to certain posts and comments about their status. The need to go out and do things became not needed. The development of interactive programs and computer games has consumed the person in the virtual world where they are the center and the actor.

It is also cheaper and more practical to live in the world of computers, where there is no need to go out, spend money in bars, different attractions and games that involve physical participation of the person and others. Also, it is very time consuming, so people simply have no time to go out and enjoy nature and the company of others. The constant checking for the replies and posts of others, especially if there is an extreme amount of friends, takes up a lot of time.

Another major advancement but also an issue with technology—texting and emails in particular. The technology has changed the world but not necessarily in a good way. Many aspects of communication and life have been reduced to the minimum through the use of technology. Life in modern days has become very fast, and people focus on personal advancement. The distancing between individuals and society has become extremely noticeable, as people are trying to pursue their interests.

The contrast between the different periods is rather noticeable to the modern observer. The Renaissance and Reformation period was the beginning of the new age. People have been living in a world that was unknown and undiscovered; so many things were thought up and imagined. Sciences and technologies were a part of the impossible realm, and anyone involved in something unknown was thought to be an outsider.

The Industrial Revolution has built upon the previous period and led to significant modifications in people’s lives. The time that was previously spent on work could now be used to produce more products and services (Waugh 33). The society became a working mass which was increasing production, providing people a better and more luxurious life, setting the pace for further development.

The modern world has become the pinnacle of evolution known to the present civilization. The cities and technology have given people a chance to advance to heights beyond the planet and their minds. Healthcare, transportation, and communication have made the world much smaller and more accessible.


The three periods in the development of human society have set apart stages of advancements. The world has seen many changes, technologically and ethically. People’s minds were moving forward, along with the technology that has helped comprehend and gather more information. There is no clear cut opinion as to whether these advancements have been largely positive or negative, but one thing for sure, there is no escaping evolution.

Works Cited

Goloboy, Jennifer. Industrial Revolution: People and Perspectives. Santa Barbara, United States: ABC-CLIO, 2008. Print.

Graham-Dixon, Andrew. Renaissance. Los Angeles, United States: University of California Press, 1999. Print.

Montagna, Joseph 2013. The Industrial Revolution. Web. 


Waugh, Steven. Essential Modern World History. Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Nelson Thornes, 2001. Print.

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