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Printing press and protest

Stacy Warner Maddern


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Well into the mid-fifteenth century, books remained printed by hand, and were thus harder to obtain. Exposure to books was predominantly a privilege of the wealthy, that is until Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. Gutenberg was a German metalworker, who had begun the process in the 1440s of making movable type to replace handwritten letters. At the time, Europe began to enter a new age of exploration and scientific discovery in addition to political and religious changes. Gutenberg's invention would certainly revolutionize western culture in ways that would help shape the Renaissance, spread political and ideological change, and encourage revolution. A new and important epoch would be marked by the end of scribes and the dawn of mass printing. Just by an increase in quantity, the average sixteenth-century reader would be able to consume at least three times that of his or her fourteenth-century counterpart. As the printing press impacted the culture of technology, so did it provide an indelible voice in the exchange and development of ideologies challenging the status quo. From this perspective the printing press can be viewed as an elemental tool that would change the course of protest and revolution. Certainly, in Europe, the advent of movable type helped to insure that ideas, technologies, and beliefs could reach a wider audience. In addition, the limited educational ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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