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The "Powerful"

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History is written by the powerful. It is true that since the 1960s and the beginnings of the democratization of history, less powerful minorities have taken up the pen and more profusely expressed their views of history, but to a great extent, white males have engrained their view of history into people’s minds. Perhaps for this reason, perhaps because of its appealing nature, or perhaps for both reasons, the Renaissance stands out in people’s minds as a definitive period in history—a period during which, arguably, intellectual and cultural progress swept across Europe.

The driving force behind much of the intellectual and cultural changes was the humanist movement; focusing on a devotion to and re-analysis of the classics, humanism arose between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries. Through their devotion to the studia humanitatis (the study of rhetoric, grammar, history, poetry, and ethics), humanists strove to improve the human condition. These developments, most frequently identified in the cultural, intellectual, and social realms, altered many people’s lives for the better. These same developments, however, were also gender-biased.