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One very important thing that was going on during the 16th century was the Protestant Reformation. This was a major blow to the Roman Catholic Church. This massive change that was occurring because of the Reformation was directly linked to social and political change as well. Criticisms of the Roman Catholic Church was that clergy selection was determined according to class and wealth instead of morality, some priests involved themselves in drinking and gambling, and priests were exempt from paying taxes. People started to ask questions and they wanted change.
At the beginning of the 16th century people had a bright outlook of the future because the economy was flourishing. Even peasants had enough money to put meat on their tables. Population was increasing at a rapid rate. Because of this (and inflation), people who lived towards the end of the century saw their land being taken away and could not even afford to buy meat. When they thought of the future they thought of despair.
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