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Types: Article
Subjects: the peasantry in the 16th and 17th centuries - usury - social bondage - social activities of the Jesuits

`On Usury`, the treaty by Martin Smiglecki SJ, was the first strictly scientific attempt to show the economic and social background of the bourgeois and peasant social stratum in Poland and Lithuania at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries. The author, being an excellent logician, expressed his views in a very precise way, limiting his technical (philosophico-legal) language to a minimum, so that his treatise would be understandable to readers from a range of social positions and circumstances. Its careful analysis of the socio-economic situation and clear formulation of its postulates enabled it to function, over the course of two centuries, as a practical manual imparting guidance to the ruling class as they sought to maintain a just and fair stance in their dealings with the burghers and peasants. Smiglecki’s ideas have become a reference point for many generations of professors of moral philosophy and folk preachers seeking to raise social issues in their own works.

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