The Reformation In Europe Essay

1264 words - 5 pages

In the 16th century, Germany, England, and Scotland were devastated by the ignition of the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation that was started my Martin Luther affected the power of the monarchs, the well-being of the common man and woman, and it also affected the overall balance of power in Europe.Germany ended up being devastated by the Reformation. And because of this, the Protestant movement ultimately proved a political disaster for Germany. Charles V, the current ruler at that time, is partly to blame for the destruction of his country and the disintegration of imperial authority in it. Charles didn't understand the constitutional problems in Germany, and he really didn't care about them either. Martin Luther had started Protestantism in Germany, and it was too strong for Charles to fight back effectively. Charles was always too busy doing other things. He was constantly preoccupied with his Flemish, Spanish, Italian, and American territories. The Turkish threat also stopped him from stopping the Protestants. Charles also couldn't keep himself out of wars. He went in war with the Valois kings of France five times between 1521 and 1555. It was the same issue each time. It was always about the Habsburg lands acquired by the marriage of Maximilian and Mary of Burgundy. It was French policy to keep the German states divided, therefore, the Catholic Kings of France supported Lutheran Princes in their challenge to defeat Charles V. Protestantism advanced the Habsburg-Valois Wars and promoted the political fragmentation of Europe (Patrouch).Charles V wasn't the only person at fault. The German Princes were equally to blame. Roman Catholicism would mean legal confiscation of lush farmlands, rich monasteries, and wealthy shrines. Many civil authorities realized that they had a great deal to gain by embracing the new faith. Duchies, margraviates, free cities, and bishoprics did so and secularized church property. German Princes used the religious issue to extend their financial and political independence. Combined, all of these things halted and even reduced the improvement of the German government (Patrouch).At this time the church in Germany had great wealth because Germany had no strong central government to check the central flow of gold to Rome. The church was also rich because the practice of religion in Germany was a public matter. Everyone participated in the religious life of the community. If anyone had something to say against the religion, they always kept it to themselves. The person with the highest civil authority chose what kind of religious practice his people would follow and everyone had to follow it. This kept a country united, but when Martin Luther and his religious storm swept across Germany, it made Germany fall apart even more destroying the little bit of unity it had before (Patrouch).Out in the countryside, many German peasants converted into Lutheranism. Luther had come from a peasant background himself, and he...

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