Advanced Placement European History
Analysis Paper The Renaissance period in Northern Italy featured new thinking and ideas that changed the culture of the time. The Renaissance Period began during the 14th century (Alchin 1). Leonardo Bruni supported the republic and saw the Renaissance state as, “Florence has done and daily continues to do great deeds of honor and virtue both at home and abroad…” (Bruni 3) Nicolo Machiavelli believed in having a Prince and saw the Renaissance State in a brutally honest light; that all men are evil. In addition, he believed religion and politics should be kept separate. (“The Prince: Theme Analysis” 1) Baldassare Castiglione recounts the Renaissance Court Life in his book,” The Book of the Courtier”. Baladassare believes in a noble birthed Courtier with almost inhuman qualities and Baldassare saw the Renaissance State as one based around royalty. (“The Book of the Courtier: The Ideal Courtier” 2) The writing and historical background of the gentlemen suggests that while they have many similarities on viewpoints, they also hold many differences in opinions too. Leonardo Bruni was chancellor of the Renaissance State from 1410 to 1411 and then again in 1427 until his death. Although the chancellor position did not involve political power, Bruni was one of the scholars of the Christian Renaissance. (Burke 1) Bruni emphasized good citizenship and virtue from the republics. Bruni viewed the Renaissance State as having justice as its main priority. Magistrates ensured justice and punished those who betrayed it. Regardless of class, every man had to follow the decisions made by the magistracies… out of respect for the position of those offices. The Chief Magistrate has the power of the state but controlled by a system of checks and balances among the nine other magistrates. The terms of magistracies lasts only 2 months in hopes that the short length of time will deter any illegal activity or selfish behavior. The magistracy system has governed the city so well with multiple trials that Bruni does not suggest any other form of government.
The Renaissance State has its own type of equity where the lower classes are protected by the state and the upper class must rely on their wealth. In Bruni’s viewpoint for a government to be well run, there must be rules for everyone to follow. There are also rules for law enforcement officials to ensure no ones’ freedom is infringed upon, and the citizens of the state have justice and pride. This sounds strikingly familiar to how present day America is run. There are rules to abide by and punishments for breaking the laws. In the United States the punishment affects people regardless of their social standing. There are eight Magistrates besides the Chief, which is exactly like the Supreme Court consisting of eight associate justices and one Chief Justice. There are an odd number of them to avoid split opinions. The Supreme Court handles cases involving the Constitution or Federal law. (“ Supreme Court of the United States” 1)
Baldassare Castiglione wrote “The Book of the Courtier” which was a best seller from 1528 until the end of the 18th century. It focuses on the bad behavior of people who attended the courts of Renaissance Princes. Castiglione himself was a soldier, diplomat, and aristocrat born from a wealthy family. It is obvious throughout the book that Castiglione intends for the Courtier to be able to manipulate his way into becoming a counselor of the sovereign, which would be stepping up in his once petty duties. Castiglione also supports witty banter from the Courtier; which will not only help him to understand others but develop a reputation for himself. Castiglione’s book unlike Bruni’s focuses more on how to behave and attain good graces than the Renaissance State’s government. The only similarities are that both books involve positions of government. Both Castiglione’s book and Machiavelli’s are