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Many of the innovations of the Renaissance influenced contemporary society. The first was the growth of the middle classes, where rather than there just being nobles and peasants with a very limited number of artisans and merchants, there were an increasing number of people in between those two extremes, especially in urban areas.
In literature and education of this period, we find the rise of the vernacular, compared to the middle ages in which the language of the educated was Latin. We also see a rise in realism in both literature and the visual arts.
In religion, one of the most important developments which continues to affect us was the Protestant Reformation and subsequent Roman Catholic counter-reformation.
Many of the scientific advances of the period, including Copernicus' heliocentric theory and Bacon's experimental method mark the foundations of modern science.
The Renaissance led to fundamental shifts in society on multiple levels. It represents a shift toward secularization and the rejection of the authority of the Church; it brought about the birth of humanism, a revamping and secularization of education; it was the beginning of modern scientific theory, and a questioning of the fundamental beliefs and underlying principles that governed life on many levels. It was the beginning of the modern city and of global commerce, it was the period of the Great Protestant Reformation.
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