Social Inequality in the Early Modern Era Throughout history, there has been an extreme discrimination against different groups of people. Women have been disrespected just because of what their religion’s holy book says. The Pope had the authority over state, not the monarch. The color of your skin has even determined your rank in society. Even though this was more in the early modern era, it still happens today. People have had to work their way to gain rights. Examples of social inequality in the modern era are the separation of church and state, rights of women, and the social construction of race.
According to the Bible, the woman was created mainly as a mate for man, not the other way around. Women are incapable of making decisions, thus they are inferior to men. This is the same for Islam because in the Koran it says, “The men are made responsible for the women, since God endowed them with certain equalities, and made them the bread earners”. Also in Islam, the role of the women is to manage the household, take care of the expenses, teach their children, and help with the agriculture. And women are expected 100% to do so of these things.
Since the purpose of religion is to bring order and people something to believe in, this is what is expected in society. In the Great Chain of Being, the family is divided into ranks. The father is at the tops of the family, the mother being the second. Even in the Enlightenment this idea is passed through Jean-Jacques Rousseau that a women’s education is secondary to men. In the early modern era, the church was clearly over the monarch. Before the Protestant reformation, everybody got their ideas from the Pope.
Since most people could not read, the Pope was basically running the country, with the monarch having little power. Martin Luther argued that “each man can be his own Priest” and that everybody is in fact equal with each other. The Pope should no longer have authority over anybody because what he is doing is wrong. The Catholic Church still tried to support their argument by saying the Church’s interpretation of the Bible is final, but some still converted to Lutheranism. Some monarchs tried to withhold the power of the church.
Queen Elizabeth abolished the Catholic Church, and created the Anglican Church giving her more power and abolishing the Pope. In the social construction of race, whites are above everybody. The only reason why they are the superior race is because they have created the social construction of race. This dates back to when the Europeans first discovered the new world inhabited by Native Americans. They thought the Native Americans as natural-born slaves. Juan Gines de Sepulveda argued that Native Americans are “slaves by nature, uncivilized, barbarian, and inhuman”.
Aristotle even thought that indigenous people were not human. When the Native American population died down, Europeans started to discriminate blacks. In the paternal order, whites were at the top, the house servants were in the middle, and the field slaves were on the bottom. This was based on skin color because most likely the house servants were biracial. It was seen that this order was “ordained by god” and this was for the slaves own safety because they are like children. The slave master was like the father, to provide for the slaves while the slaves work for him.
Whites often thought the slaves as stupid, just because they were not brought up the same way as them. In conclusion, the origins of social inequality came from the beginning of time: when the Europeans first landed in the New World trying to discover new land. Instead they found Native Americans and completely judged them by their looks. During the time when the Catholic Church was over the state and the monarch had no power. Even with the rights of women, social inequality was there. These were factors for the inequality of the modern era.