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The major changes in government structures between the middle anges and Renaissance varied to a certain degree with region, but could be characterized as increasing centralization of power, and a shift in economic and therefore political power from exclusively belonging to an aristocracy to being shared with a growing merchant class. The growth of absolute monarchy and alliance of throne and altar was in many ways a function of the weakening of the nobility. Next, the contested areas of power between Kings and the Pope over church temporalities shifted with the growth of Protestantism and increasing nationalization of churches.
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