Thomas More was a Renaissance thinker who’s work, “Utopia”, reflects many of the key ideas and values of that period. The Protestant Reformation was a major event during the Renaissance and it’s effects are evident in More’s writing. Utopia is a perfect example of the way in which the Renaissance ideals of reason, order, and progress influenced Thomas More’s thinking.
Thomas More was born on February 7, 1478, in London, England. He was an English lawyer, social philosopher, writer, statesman, and prominent Renaissance humanist. He served as Lord Chancellor of England from October 1529 to May 1532 while also being an important adviser to Henry VIII. Thomas died on July 6th , 1535. Thomas became one of the era’s most fascinating and powerful personalities.
More was born in London to Sir John More, a judge, and his wife Agnes. Thomas was the second of three children, and was brought up a Catholic. He studied at Oxford University and then at Lincoln’s Inn in London. More became a barrister in 1501, but he soon gave up law to serve Henry VII as a royal councillor. From 1504 to 1518, he worked as a diplomat in the Netherlands, France, and Spain. In 1515, he married Jane Colt. They had four children: Elizabeth, Margaret, Cicely, and John.
In 1516, Thomas More wrote his most famous work, Utopia. The book is about a fictional island society that is an ideal community. It is a satire of the politics and society of More’s own time. More was also a humanist, and he believed that education should be available to everyone. He wrote several other works, including The History of King Richard III (1513) and A Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation (1534).
Utopia portrays a vivid picture of the terrible vices that beset England during the period of war, lawlessness, the misapplication of capital punishment, poverty among the peasants, land exploitation by the wealthy, and other distressing disorders in Church and State.
But in his book, Thomas More also showed the other side of things. He pointed out that there were many good institutions and practices in England which could be improved upon, and he proposed a number of reforms which he believed would create a perfect society, or ‘utopia.’
Thomas More was influenced by many of the ideas of the Renaissance, including humanism, individualism, and skepticism. He was also influenced by the new learning of the scientific revolution, and this is reflected in his proposal for an experimental community which would use reason and science to solve social problems.
But perhaps the most important influence on More’s thinking was the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation challenged many of the traditional ideas about Church and State, and it is no coincidence that More’s ‘Utopia’ proposes a number of reforms which are similar to those proposed by the Protestant reformers.
“Renaissance,” in its literal sense, implies “rebirth.” It emphasizes specifically to the rebirth of learning that began in Italy in the fourteenth century and radiated northwards through England and Scotland throughout the sixteenth century before coming to an end in northern Europe during the mid-seventeenth century. It was also a period of new insights, both geographical (invasions of America) and intellectual (Copernican revolution).
The word “utopia” has since come to mean any place or society that seems perfect in comparison to the real world. It is often used to describe imaginary societies that are significantly different from our own, usually in a positive way.
Renaissance ideas can be seen reflected in Thomas More’s Utopia. The Renaissance was a time of great change, both politically and socially. More’s Utopia reflects the shift in thinking that was taking place during this time. The Renaissance was a time of great social and political upheaval. Thomas More’s Utopia is an ideal society, which reflects the new ways of thinking that were taking place during this time.
Some of the key ideas of the Renaissance are reflected in Utopia, including:
– A focus on reason and individualism: Thomas More was a humanist, which meant that he believed in the power of reason and individualism. This is reflected in Utopia, where people are free to think for themselves and make their own choices.
– A belief in progress: Thomas More believed that it was possible for society to progress and become better. This is reflected in Utopia, where the society is based on reason and cooperation, rather than competition and conflict.
– A focus on education: Thomas More believed that education was important for everyone, not just the elite. This is reflected in Utopia, where everyone has the opportunity to learn.
– A belief in religious toleration: Thomas More believed that people should be free to practice whatever religion they wanted. This is reflected in Utopia, where there is no state religion and people are free to worship as they please.
The Renaissance was a time of great change, and Thomas More’s Utopia reflects the new ways of thinking that were taking place during this time.
During the Renaissance, interest in and study of classical learning reached an all-time high. More in his work Utopia has drawn on a number of ancient sources, including Seneca and Cicero. He has referred to plato while denouncing follies and corruption that existed among those who worked in government: “This is why plato compares wise men to truth telling when he states that they are correct in avoiding political issues”.
Furthermore, in his work Thomas More has continued the idealistic tradition of the Renaissance by proposing an ideal society based on principles of reason, natural law and social justice.
While Thomas More was not the first to write about an ideal society, he was influenced by a number of thinkers who came before him. In particular, he was influenced by Plato’s Republic, which proposes a society governed by philosopher kings. Like Plato, More believed that wisdom was necessary for true leadership. However, unlike Plato, More believed that such wisdom could be found not just among philosophers but among all people who were willing to learn and think rationally.
More’s Utopia is also notable for its focus on religious toleration. This was a controversial topic during the Reformation, with many Protestants arguing that only their own brand of Christianity should be tolerated. More, however, believed that all religions should be tolerated as long as they did not promote violence or hate. This belief was in line with the Renaissance ideal of humanism, which stressed the value of reason and tolerance over blind faith and Dogma.
In conclusion, Thomas More’s Utopia reflects the ideals of the Renaissance period in a number of ways. First, it draws on classical learning, specifically the works of Plato. Second, it proposes an ideal society based on reason and natural law. And finally, it advocates for religious toleration. These three elements combine to create a work that is both timeless and relevant to our own world today.
Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’ is a complex and fascinating work which reflects many of the ideas of the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation. It is clear that More was deeply concerned about the problems of his own time, and he used his imagination to propose solutions which would create a perfect society. While some of his ideas may seem far-fetched, others have been put into practice and have had a profound impact on our world today.