The Wars Of Religion Essay

1445 words - 6 pages

Politics and religion in the world of today aren’t subjects that generally go hand in hand in our own society. This was not always the case however; in Europe the two were synonymous up until relatively recently, (recently meant in the loosest sense of the word,) and are still closely tied in foreign parts of the world, the most obvious example being the Middle East. The duos intimate relationship was exemplified during the late sixteenth century, extending into the seventeenth century, during a series of wars which would later on come to be called “the wars of religion.” But is this title completely appropriate? For wars claiming to be centered on religion, they seem to carry an awfully heavy load of political baggage. In fact, one could argue that the wars in France, the Netherlands, as well as in the Holy Roman Empire, had many more political influences than religious. Religion masqueraded as a means of getting political power or territory for (though admittedly not all) a substantial amount of protestants; Calvinists to be specific.
The French wars of religion are particularly political in nature, it seems. This spurs from the fact that an ample amount of Huguenots, or French Calvinists, were wealthy aristocrats with political aspirations which the religion could further. Calvinist ideals validated hostility towards the government in their struggles for religious freedom. The military aristocrats merged with the Huguenot churches creating a powerful force which would serve the needs of both the political and the religious members of the group. This encouraged the assumption that the Huguenots as a whole had ulterior motives, and if the Huguenots weren’t enough to convince you that wars central conflict was of a political nature, regent to her son, Catherine de Medici’s indecisive dance between allies ought to be, seeing that her goal, protecting the monarchy, was steadfast. She simply made alliances with the less threatening of the enemies (the Huguenots, and the Guises) whenever it suited her, disregarding her Catholic religion at times to escape a heavily Guise influenced monarchy, as well as risking the aforementioned when the protestants seemed to be gaining major influence. These alliances were purely political, and were angled towards getting rid of the largest threat of the moment. Originally, honoring her alliances with the Huguenots, Catherine enacted the Edict of January which allowed the Huguenots to worship in private outside of towns. This; however, was quickly disregarded when the Duke of Guise slaughtered a congregation of worshiping Calvinists in a permitted area. This was brick that broke the camel’s back, marking the official start of the French War of Religion.
Subsequently, the bloodiest and most violent of conflicts followed as well as the assassination of the duke of Guise, paving the way for the Peace of Saint-Germain-en Laye and ending the brutal fighting. Following these events, the Huguenots began...

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