In some ways the 15th century has lots in common with the 21st; like the 21st century, the 15th century was a time of development, change and expansion. Some of the inventions of the 15th century we still use today and it is most likely that 21st century innovation, particularly in the world of technology, will continue to surprise us with even better products and even cleverer designs. Despite their common themes of change and expansion, however, the 15th and 21st centuries clearly encompass two very distinct worlds
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Religion and culture
Catholicism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam were the prevalent religions during the 15th century and they continue to be some of the most popular religions of the 21st century too. However, in the 21st century, a large percentage of the population openly rejects the idea of any God (atheism) which is something that would not have been permitted in the 15th century. Religions which were associated with Eastern countries in the 15th century are now part of our daily lives in the West too. This is largely due to centuries of intense migration and the invention of the airplane which has allowed us to travel the world quickly and easily. Development in transportation has turned the 21st century into a rich mix of cross-cultural activity and multi-cultural societies.
Power and government
In the 15th century, the ruling monarch was allowed to have almost absolute power over his or her kingdom and many of the decisions that were made were done so at the monarch’s behest. The notion of democracy that we have in the 21st century, whereby the public can vote for what they believe in, didn’t exist. Power in the 21st century is less centralised than what it was in the 21st century. Governing bodies are held accountable for their decisions and power can be given or taken away by the “people” whenever a ruling vote should be passed.
Technology and invention
Both eras are notable in terms of technological advancement and innovation. One of the most important inventions of the 15th century was the printing press, which we still use today. Having said that, the 21st century has taken press and international journalism to a whole other level thanks to the invention of the Internet. It’s now possible in the 21st century to send photos, videos and written messages via telephones, computers and other mobile technological devices all over the world. Never has the world been so accessible to us as it is in the 21st Century thanks to the continual advancements made by technological whizz-kids.
Class and social constructions
In the 15th century, class distinctions and social divides (mainly constructed because of economic wealth, family heritage or race) were very much a part of daily life. Opportunities were beginning to open up and, through education or sound business sense, it was possible for someone to better his or her prospects in life and climb up the social ladder. However, it wasn’t an easy task and social development had its limitations. In the 21st century equal opportunity is one of the most important elements of modern society. Society in the 21st century strives for equal opportunities for all, regardless of race, gender, age, religion, nationality or disability. Education for all is the first step towards a bright future for any child, despite his or her social or economic background.
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