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What was the most important consequence of the Printing Press?

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The printing press, by Gutenberg, has grown immensely since the 15th century. It went from being in a few towns in present day Germany to almost all over Europe in a matter of 30 years (Doc. 2). Although the printing press was such a revolutionary achievement, the most important consequences were the dissemination of the words and ideas of the people and educating more citizens. Also it began to stir up conflicts among the beliefs of the churches over time. The printing press was an amazing invention that became so extraordinary that it was used to print almost anything such as religious books, advertisements, and even literary works. These prints probably traveled across the continent faster than it took to write them. In 1493 Columbus sent a handwritten letter to the King of Spain (Doc. 6). In six months this letter made it all over Europe and was translated and written in more than five different versions. In the 50 years following Gutenberg’s invention, three-fourths of the 20 million newly printed books were classical or medieval literary works (Doc. 8).

Also by the first half of the 16th century early modern authors had their works printed and distributed to the general public (Doc. 9). This allowed modern and current ideas to spread more quickly and on a grander scale. With all the new books and ideas getting printed and distributed to the public, people couldn’t help but to be inclined to read more. This spread literacy very quickly. For example, the map of the world before the printing press demonstrated how it was originally thought that all the continents were connected as one (Doc. 7). Once the world was explored and charted more accurately, a new map was drawn. This spread the knowledge of the world a lot quicker. Likewise, if scientists’ ideas weren’t published and spread throughout the world we would have never known about things such as gravity, which was discovered by Isaac Newton by reading other scientists works (Doc. 10).

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