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Impact of the Printing Press Essay

Impact of the Printing Press essay

Example #1

Inventions of the Renaissance had a very big impact on people’s life. In order to get more knowledge and to make real-life more interesting and creative, people started to invent. There were many inventions of the Renaissance: telescope, compass, printing press, etc.

But the most important technological advance of all was the development of printing, with movable metal type, about the mid-15th century in Germany. A German named Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1436. Printing press invention had a large impact on the value of the books, religion and reformation and education.

Before the invention of the printing press, multiple copies of a manuscript had to be made by hand. Handwritten books took months or years to handprint. This made books very expensive. The printing press made it possible to produce more copies in a few weeks than formerly could have been produced in a lifetime by hand. This made books cheaper. With the printing press, they could do thousands of copies of books.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, by 1500 the presses of Europe produced some six million books.

This reflects through the church. The Bible was the first book to be mass-produced. Two hundred copies of the two-volume Gutenberg Bible were printed; this information is presented on the web site People could buy the Bible and they did not go to churches anymore. This leads to Reformation and new religions. People realized that they could pray and confess at their homes. People set up the rules when, where, and how they can pray and confess. Hundreds of new religions started to form. Some of them were thinking that the church was not right and that is why Reformation occurred.

In the Middle Ages, the only educated people in Europe were church leaders. But with the invention of the printing press, everybody could afford to buy a book and become more educated. Education was very important in the Renaissance because it opened people’s minds to thinking. The power of books and educated people were more important than the church. People were reading as much as they could and spreading their knowledge everywhere.

In conclusion, without the development of the printing press, the Renaissance may never have happened. Without inexpensive printing to make books available to a large portion of society, the son of John Shakespeare, a minor government official in rural England in the mid-1500s, may never have been inspired to write what is now recognized as some of history’s greatest plays. What civilization gained from Gutenberg’s invention is incalculable.


Example #2

The most common form of printing technology is offset lithography that consists of separate towers for every color of ink for printing. Others are gravure printing dependent on the small depressions on the printing plate surface, pad printing, screen printing, and relief printing.

The invention of the printing press depended on already available printing technologies that were in use in various regions, such as ink, paper, and block printing invention that was quite common in China, before moving out to revolutionize Europe through Gutenberg works. Industrial Printing Presses Printing presses have evolved enormously over time, shifting from manual to mechanical structures which are less tedious, easier to produce, and with many reduced chances of injuries.

Since ancient times, the transformations from wooden to metal built devices are evident, changing the face of printing from Egyptian wooden block printing, all the way to lithography, offset printing, 19th-century hot stamping typesetting, phototypesetting, to modern 3D printing and digital press. Stanhope printing press invented the first book press using cast the iron, followed by the Columbian press, which was adrift from Gutenberg print press, even if they employed most of the features and operation procedures from previous Gutenberg’s work (, n.d).

All these former industrial press have been serving as the foundations of the succeeding printing presses in modern society. The mechanized printing press. The difference that arises between the press and Gutenberg’s is the speed of the press to make an impression on the paper. While Gutenberg print press compositors put type together by hand to assemble about 2000 characters per…

The increase in print works allowed the spread of Christianity across the globe, which was one major practice that preceded European settlement in different continents. Bible translation into native languages as possible, enhancing the spread of the gospel to different communities in their backyards. According to Eisenstein, “between the invention of the printing press and 1520, one hundred and fifty-six Latin edition of the Bible had been published, together with seventeen German translation” (1979, p. 330).

People had to learn to read and write, to read the word been spread, and acquire timely information and knowledge for their benefit. The number of people who attended church teachings reduced since the word was more available to everyone, and as a result many could criticize some religious doctrines, creating conflicts among Christian religious denominations.

How the Printing Press Changed Communication

Communication comes differently to convey a message to the society. Today you find people using signs languages, either in the body or pictorial forms to mean something. No longer is the human presence important as the agent of message delivery, but the message could be printed out and authorized to clarify and assure its origin to the sender.

The culture of public communication has been influenced by the changing printing press technologies, such that it goes beyond providing learning, reasoning, and meaning of the message, to ensure people easier and reliable access of information, and its control when need be.


Example #3

Even though reading and writing skills were regarded as advantageous in medieval Europe, it remains a practical skill for many, a criterion rather than a cultural requirement. Numerous medieval rulers and even Church prelates were uneducated; however, they were urbane or civilized, for they had appointed scribes and readers.

The significance of literacy as a sensible qualification is shown in the laws formulated by an archbishop of York in 1483 for a university he established in which one of the objectives of the college was alleged to be that “youths may be rendered more capable for the mechanic arts and otherworldly affairs” (Kamen 2000: 212). The practical value of literacy would at all times be essential.

The ultimate practical use was apparently in the purposes of the Church, since merely a knowledgeable clergy may be the authorities of religious life. In other words, literacy was the Church’s protection, which had supreme control over education. The invention of printing, entailing more efficient and more economical means of book production, transformed the dilemma of illiteracy. Francis Bacon, living in the period directly after the introduction of Gutenberg’s printing press, illustrated as one of the remarkable inventions of the century which had revolutionized the form and condition of the entire world (Hill 2001).

The objective of this paper is to explore the impact of the printing press on the authority of the Church and aristocracy in Europe as well as its contribution to the profound social and political changes that the continent experienced in the iron century. The Impact of the Printing Press on the Authority of the Church and Aristocracy in Europe The absolute goal of making the population literate was to persuade them of the rightness of their own points of view.

The period of the Counter-Reformation can hence be viewed as an extended practice in the development of methods of persuasion. It was the printed ideas, circulated through manuscripts, newspapers, and pamphlets that eventually surfaced as the most persuasive technique of propaganda. In the Middle Ages, the pulpit had been the primary arbiter of public judgment, and this important role persisted all over the seventeenth century.

The unparalleled victory was attained by the clerics of the Counter-Reformation, who, through this method originated the remarkable progress initiated by Lutherans through the effective exploitation of the pulpit. Sermons realized a twofold victory, further. They were transmitted by word of mouth; then, they were printed and circulated in order to get to an even wider audience (Kamen 1971). So enormous was the influence of the podium that ecclesiastical authority was mandated so as to acquire an authorization to sermonize.

The continental Reformation freed the podium from the domination of the Catholic Episcopal, yet bishops in Episcopal England continued their rigid control on the public opinion of opposing perspectives. The competition for the pulpit was, in fact, a competition for the minds of men. In 1641, Lord Falkland declared that the bishops had “cried down lectures, either because other men’s industry in that duty appeared a reproof of their neglect of it, or with an intention to have brought in the darkness that they may easier sow their tares while it was night” (Hill 2001: 89).

Influential indeed was the spoken word, but temporary: it was the eternalness of the printed word that distressed Church authorities and the aristocracy. Subjugation and power over information was primarily aimed against printed works.

As it was the Church and aristocracy that were on the self-protective agenda against new thoughts, the printing businesses fell under suspicion in Catholic territories, and printing presses initially operated freely in Protestant areas. The period of the post-Reformation thus witnessed a major evacuation of printing presses from Catholic to Protestant regions in Europe (Steinberg & Trevitt 1996). Books were not essentially the perfect instrument for propaganda; they remain somewhat pricey and have a tendency to be printed in a small edition. The Holy Bible was consistently a hit, obviously, as were several other manuscripts. Moreover, printing was regarded as offensive by the aristocracy.

Numerous aristocratic scholars declined to shame their collections with the insertion of a non-manuscript document. The value of the printing press fell to the recognition of the poor or the lower classes (Steinberg & Trevitt 1996). Numerous countries advocated the Church of England and the Catholic Church by ratifying statutes that prohibited book publications.

Catholic King Francis I of France in 1535 “issued an edict prescribing the death penalty for the unauthorized printing of books, and soon afterward the Sorbonne became the licensing authority and remained so until the French Revolution” (Kelsey 1963: 215).

England imitated the strategy of Rome to regulate the printing of books. During the regime of Queen Elizabeth, there was a restriction on the number of printers and presses, and it was ruled “that printing should be carried on only in London, Oxford, and Cambridge…

In 1637 (it was) decreed that all printed books must be submitted for license… before publication, with the penalty of forfeiture of all presses” (Kelsey 1963: 216), in which printers refused to obey. This type of license was referred to as an imprimatur which means ‘let it be printed’ (ibid: 216) in Latin. Meanwhile, the aristocracy in Ireland controlled printing through the agency of the King’s Printer and maximized its domination of the printing industry by printing manuscripts, leaflets, and other efforts that advocated the Dublin regime (Kamen 2000).

Analyzing the previous discussion, the invention of the printing press threatened the authority of the Church and the aristocracy of Europe. The power of their words lost influence and persuasion because of the inherent permanence of the printed word. Furthermore, dissents over their domination were at the time effectively articulated by those who are literate enough through printed books. Hence, the invention of the printing press paved the way for profound social and political changes all over Europe. Social and Political Impact of the Printing Press

The introduction of the printed manuscript did not independently advance literacy. Books remain comparatively costly, and editors dedicated their works to endeavors that the average person in the street may not always wish to understand. Nevertheless, the increasing accessibility of printed books helped to stir a rise of educational interest.

The communication knowledge theory became significantly adjusted, and pedagogy developed to be a science in itself. It became generally recognized that it was normal to receive education for literacy, not entirely for the reason that literacy had definite practical values but for the reason that it was morally appropriate and right for an individual to acquire education (Kelsey 1963).

No empirical evidence is available for variations in literacy rates that could have developed from this paradigm, yet at least for England, there is information that the basics of literacy were being communicated of the common people. In the countryside, the community school bridged the gap between well-off and underprivileged children in terms of learning.

Owing to religious inspiration and the accessibility of the printed book, primary education improved in Europe (Kamen 1971). However, we are very much familiar with the favorability of general literacy that it demands some attempt to understand how perilous and revolutionary, both in political and ideological terms, the capability to read and write maybe.

With the extensive diffusion of new insights through the printing press, innovative and rebellious insights may all too voluntarily be put within the understanding of the poor. The ideological conflict of the Reformation period in turn resulted in a questioning confusion in official approaches and views toward education. Meanwhile, Catholics and Protestants were interested in educating their devotees to read their guidebooks of religious principles; both parties were similarly concerned not to permit unfavorable literature into the hands of uneducated devotees (Kamen 1971). In the meantime, the Thirty Years War’s propaganda appears usually to have manifested popular views, but primarily it was constructed by a few expert publicists.

One of the most disturbing features of the disorders in France and England was that the revolutionary leaders had, through their propaganda, encouraged the masses to participate in the secrecies prohibited to them. The theory, evidently, was that propaganda that was intended to win the common people over to one’s party was acceptable; but propaganda that publicized all the concerns to the masses and encouraged them to have their own decision or judgment was absolutely unacceptable.

From this perspective, the 1640s’s literature was considered one of the earliest great practices in revolutionary propaganda (Steinberg & Trevitt 1996). Clement Walker of England in his work entitled History of Independency condemned the strategies of the Independents: “They have cast all the mysteries and secrets of government before the vulgar, and taught the soldiery and the people to look into them and ravel back all governments to the first principles of nature” (Kamen 1971: 278).

An English scholar also criticized “the tumultuous risings of rude multitudes threatening blood and destruction, the preaching of cobblers, feltmakers, Taylors, groomes and women,” (Kamen 1971: 278) a record written undoubtedly in rising order of ridiculousness. The condition has to be confronted: revolutionary propaganda was going beyond the practice of persuasion; it generally manifested actual popular views, it was dedicated not to advocate traditional parties but to the challenging of all existing authority. Once censorship floodgates had been initiated, the opinions of all sectors of the population ruptured. The quantities of pamphlets on available literature specify a very important propaganda outcome (Kamen 1971). Conclusions

To sum it up, there is no absolute verification of what impact printing had on the masses, whose reading skills were almost entirely unfamiliar to us. Yet, it is very clear from the discussion that the authority of the Church and aristocracy were greatly affected by the invention of printing.

Even though these ecclesiastical and administrative authorities made use of their power to turn the tides to their favor, such as taking advantage of printed books to enhance their status and reputation, many dissenters were able to find a way to articulate their grievances and encourage common people to join their revolutionary cause. Moreover, the narrowing gap between the well-off and the poor in terms of educational achievement became a great threat to the authorities.

The status quo was transforming and the revolution underway was starting to gain leverage. On the other hand, some scholars in Europe were criticizing the manner propaganda or publicity is used by revolutionaries.

Because the principles disseminated by the revolutionary pamphlets were commonly oriented to self-thinking and collective consciousness, upholders of the status quo were obviously alarmed. Revolutionary leaders, just like the ecclesiastical and administrative authorities, aimed to turn the favor towards their objective by exploiting the potentials of printing.

Lastly, because of printing education became accessible to many, even in the lower orders. Socially, printing improved a lot of the common people whereas politically it facilitated the overturn of authority and the mitigation of social disorders.


Example #4 – Interesting ideas

The invention of the printing press in Europe is somewhat comparative to the internet today.

For the first time tracts did not have to be laboriously copied by hand, limiting the amount severely and adding to its cost. Now an idea could be broadcast from town to town in a timely fashion as long as paper and ink held out.

The biggest political impact was the spread of Protestantism and defining on how we think of language today. One example is Luther’s translation of the Bible was in his native Saxon dialect. It would eventually be known as high german. His translation was so successful and the printing press made it commercially available to such a large group of people that it set standards we still live with today.

The main effects of the printing press, however, was to multiply the supply and cut down the costs of books. Thus, it made information of all kinds readily available to a larger segment of the population. Libraries were then able to store more information and at a lower cost.

The printing press also facilitated the preservation and dissemination of knowledge in the standardized form – this was very important for the advancement of scholarship, and science and technology. The printing press has certainly fueled the start of the ‘information revolution’, which is at par with the Internet of today. Printing could spread new ideas and information quickly, and with much greater impact.

Printing encouraged literacy in the population and eventually brought about a deep and lasting impact on many people’s lives. Although many of the earlier books dwelt on religious subjects, businessmen, students and the upper and middle-class strata of society still bought these books. Printer, on the other hand, responded to this demand with medical, moralizing, travel, and practical manuals.

Printing also provided a platform for scholars and prevented the corruption of texts through hand copying from taking place. By giving everyone the same texts to work from, the printing press has brought about progress in science and scholarship in a faster and more reliable way.

The printing press was invented by Gutenberg around 1440.

1) It encouraged people to learn to read and a rise in literacy resulted.

2) Vernacular languages increased which allowed people of a poorer education to be able to buy and understand books.

3) The printing of the Bible in vernacular led to self-interpretation and more criticism of priests (eventually led to religious reform).

The printing press may be the most important invention EVER!

Books became easier to get and significantly cheaper to get.

This increased reading and learning.

This increase in learning helped lead to the spread of ideas of the Renaissance and Reformation.


When the printing press came out, it was much faster to print books. This led to a greater amount of books being produced, and more people could receive them.

This allowed more people to read about other people’s opinions and many began to think for themselves. It allowed people to get their opinions, especially about religion, out into the world and more people wanted to change(reform) their religion.

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