In the broadest sense, humanism was an educational movement, and for the humanists the classical writings were unique instruments for extending the consciousness of human beings:
The great humanists of the Renaissance were impelled to revolutionize the curriculum out of the conviction that the classical world had been through a complete cycle of human experience, moral, intellectual, and imaginative, and that the ancients had given a luminously intelligent account of that experience, in perfect form, in imperishable works of thought, art, and literature (Mazzeo 15).
The humanists placed their emphasis on the human being as that individual would be revealed in the written records of classical antiquity. Humanism was a secular movement, and as such it inherently questioned the authority of religious doctrine in social, literary, and political thought.
The shift in the view of the state was reflected in a number of ways by different theorists. The republican form of government was developed during the era of the Roman Republic and then revived during the Italian Renaissance in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Niccolo Machiavelli celebrated this revival in his The Discourses when he argued with those who believed that the people acting collectively were less