RD asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 3 years ago

Give two political and social results of the Protestant Reformation.?

1 Answer

  • 3 years ago
    Favorite Answer



    Germany at the time of the reformation was not one country but a collection of principalities unified under the Holy Roman Emperor, who maintained limited authority. Soon after Luther's call for reformation, many German princes converted to Protestantism, and in 1531 formed the Schmalkaldic League in opposition to the Catholic-Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. After a long war, the two sides signed the Peace of Augsburg in 1555, which allowed each principality within Germany to determine on its own whether it would be Catholic or Protestant, greatly reducing the authority of the emperor.


    France experienced a more complex political upheaval in the wake of the Reformation, with a long series of religious wars lasting from the 1560s until 1598. This period of fighting saw massacres of Huguenots (French Protestants) by the Catholic monarchs of France, most prominently during the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre of 1572, fueled by Catherine de Medici The Queen Mother. Eventually the wars would culminate with the Edict of Nantes in 1598, issued by Henry IV, who had converted from Protestantism to Catholicism and called for general tolerance.


    England, too, experienced political upheaval. When King Edward VII died in 1553, Protestant ministers sought to prevent his Catholic sister Mary I from succeeding him, and so crowned his cousin, Lady Jane Grey. Nine days later, however, Mary and her supporters gained power and Jane was executed. Mary sought to reestablish Catholicism through the executions of many Protestants, giving her the infamous title of "Bloody Mary." In 1558 her Protestant sister Elizabeth would succeed her, and Protestantism and stability would return to England.

    Thirty Years' War

    The most prominent political consequence of the Protestant Reformation was the Thirty Years' War between Catholics and Protestants, from 1618 to 1648. Involving nearly all major European countries, the war was the worst Europe had seen, with over 8 million dead. The war saw the decline of Catholic influence and Habsburg supremacy, as well as the establishment of the concept of nation-states through the Peace of Westphalia, a treaty that introduced the concept of a balance of power between the nations of Europe in the hopes of preventing future conflicts.


    Print Culture: Although the printing press was not the efficient cause of the Reformation, it was an effective tool in spreading it. As many as one million copies of Luther’s works were distributed, which allowed them to saturate the reading German public. Luther’s German translation of the Bible went through fifty printings in two years. He wrote 450 treatises and delivered more than 3,000 sermons. His collected works comprise more than 100 volumes and 60,000 pages. Said one papal legate in 1521: "daily there is a veritable downpour of Lutheran tracts in German and Latin….nothing is sold here except the tracts of Luther." A substantial amount of Luther’s work was dedicated to lay people and was printed in the vernacular, German, rather than Latin.

    An explosive increase in literacy among laymen also benefited the reformation movement. Both Luther and Calvin stressed education and that people should study the scripture for themselves, rather than depend upon a clergyman to interpret it for them.

    Popular Culture: Popular custom of the time often involved a mixture of religious and pagan practices. Superstition was common, as was the belief in luck. Magic and religion were closely intertwined.

    Both Catholics and Protestants attempted to curb customs which they considered immoral or dangerous. Protestants particularly objected to dunking an infant three times for luck when he was baptized. Catholic authorities in France banned a popular dance known as the "twirl" in 1666 in which boys tossed girls into the air. Church officials complained that this was done "in such an infamous manner that what shame obliges us to hide most of all is uncovered naked to the eyes of those taking part and those passing by."

    Festivals and Carnivals raised fierce objections, particularly among Protestants. Carnivals were obliterated in Protestant areas, but continued in Catholic regions. A classic example of the carnival is Mardi Gras, ("fat Tuesday") celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday, when the advent of Lent puts an end to everyone’s fun for a while.

    Women and the Reformation: Protestantism abolished convents and nunneries, and women were encouraged to read and study the Bible for themselves. Women were particularly active in Anabaptism; in fact most Anabaptist martyrs were women. Even so, Protestant reformers believed that women should remain subordinate to their husbands, or their fathers if unmarried. Calvin believed the subservience of women to their husbands was absolutely necessary to maintain morality and order. V They were not to be ministers or hold church offices. Protestantism projected a woman’s role as strictly domestic’ she was to act within her own household, but not publicly.

    Protestantism tended to be more positive about the role of women than Catholicism, as Protestantism allowed its ministers to marry. The family, not the church, was thus viewed as the foundation of religion. Since Protestantism did not consider marriage a sacrament, divorce was allowed, albeit reluctantly. Luther frequently argued against it, and criticized Henry VIII for divorcing Catherine of Aragon; although this may have been a bit of payback for Henry’s treatise opposing Luther before the formers break with the church.

    Witchcraft: The religious wars which accompanied the Reformation saw a dramatic increase in European witch hunts. Many historians believe this to be a commentary on the general attitude towards woman at the time.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.