Attitudes That Formed A Nation Essay

985 words - 4 pages

At the start of the American Revolution, the attitudes of the American colonist were that of entitlement, born from the rise of religious reform and evolving into the right of self government. To fully grasp the magnitude of these attitudes, we must ask if the thoughts and actions of the American colonists would have even been fathomable without the Reformation. Sparked by the posting of Martin Luther’s ninety-five theses in 1517, the Reformation was a turning point in the authority of the church and the ability of the common people to significantly influence positive change. The rise of the middle class, an increase in education, and questions about the church’s authority and legitimacy were all key components that helped spark the Reformation. However, were the elements leading up to ultimate reform enough to influence the thoughts of the American colonists?
One of the main reasons why the Reformation was so successful was due to the rise of the middle class. Europe was primarily a land based society. Many people were farmers, and had been for generations. Land was used for sustenance farming, and controlling it represented the control of people’s way of living, which translated to power and position in society. As trade became more popular, farmers began growing crops for trade instead of sustenance. Farmers, laborers, and businessmen began to capitalize on the growing trade industry. The higher crop yields used for trade were extremely profitable and gave an influx of wealth into the population, helping to grow the middle class. The rise of thalassocracy’s or sea republics greatly impacted trade as well. Countries and trading companies such as the British East India Company began forming large naval armadas, using them to control trade routes at sea and major ports of trade. These “nations at sea” used their control to generate large profits for use of their controlled ports or travel routes, as well as for protection while at sea. Profits continued to increase as the world shrunk and trade became and growing industry. As the middle class grew the power of the people grew as well.
The increase in wealth led to an increase in education. Literacy rates started to rise as more people were able to obtain an education. The middle class was becoming more aware of their spiritual needs and sought the support of the church. The church however, had become corrupted. It was no longer focused on its primary goal of spiritually nurturing people, but had instead become involved in a secondary goal, the generation of wealth. The medieval church had become unable to perform its duties. The leadership of the church had become increasingly greedy and cared only about the profits that could be had from preying on the peoples’ faith. A main form of corruption was the selling of indulgences, pieces of paper that were said to forgive sins and lessen your time in purgatory, in essence a “free pass” for any sin you would commit. The more money you paid, the...

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