How did shifting beliefs within the Christian church affect seats of power in Europe during the Protestant Reformation? Give a few examples of how this affected the daily life of associated populations during the time. Think in terms of laws, rights, and trade. Consider and propose how these collective historical experiences might have informed the creation and establishment of early America during the Enlightenment.

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The Protestant Reformation was a religious movement during the sixteenth century that challenged the power and politics of the Roman Catholic Church and its leaders. This movement began with the publication of Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses , where he stated that the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church were wrong...

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The Protestant Reformation was a religious movement during the sixteenth century that challenged the power and politics of the Roman Catholic Church and its leaders. This movement began with the publication of Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses, where he stated that the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church were wrong for selling indulgences. Indulgences were believed to reduce the spiritual punishment of purgatory for the deceased if the indulgences were purchased by their loved ones. The movement also challenged the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church, turning to the scripture for spiritual law instead of the Pope and believing that faith allowed for spiritual salvation as opposed to charitable works. Luther and his Protestant followers were excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church, with Germany having the largest number of Protestant reformers.

These collective historical experiences had a significant influence on how early European settlements in America were founded. There was an increased focus on education and literacy, with greater equality between female and male children attending school. There was also an increased focus on employment and the desire to work. Protestants had a greater work ethic than Roman Catholics. Protestants were also more supportive of the price of goods being controlled by supply and demand rather than the Roman Catholic Church.

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The initial challenges to the authority of the Catholic Church had philosophical and geopolitical consequences that reshaped not only the map of Europe but also affected the development of global colonialist expansion.

As the Reformation began in Northern Europe, the split from Southern Europe was evident early on. This represented a challenge not only to Rome and the Italian city states, but to Spain.

In England, Henry VIII was married to a Spanish queen. His desired divorce from Catherine of Aragon could not proceed under Catholic religious law. In breaking with the Church to establish a new religion, Henry simultaneously destroyed England's alliance with Spain by removing the Spanish queen and the possible future heirs. Henry's subsequent marriages within England ultimately—though not immediately—strengthened the country. As a monarch, his challenge to the Pope as the ultimate authority by asserting the independent supremacy of a national ruler also helped erode Church power.

Spain had ardently pressed its religious convictions throughout its colonies, building on the fervor of the Reconquest of Iberia. Although Catholic colonies were also established in the Americas by France and Portugal, Spain was the dominant American power from Georgia southward. Increasingly throughout the seventeenth century, religious choice became a component of the colonizing powers' ideologies. The Protestant-versus-Catholic conflicts within Europe were played out on American soil.

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The Protestant Reformation caused certain countries and principalities to break away from the Roman Catholic Church, ending the power of Rome over principalities in Germany, as well as in Scandinavia, Switzerland, and Great Britain. This led to changes in daily life: for example, people were able to read the Bible in their own languages, as the Bible was translated from Latin into vernacular languages. In everyday life, the newly minted Protestants could read the Bible for themselves, think for themselves, and perform their own "examens" of conscience without having to rely on confessing to a priest.

In England, Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic church so that he could divorce his first wife and marry Anne Boleyn. When Anne Boleyn's daughter, Elizabeth I, became a long-reigning queen, Protestantism won as the entrenched religion of the land.

Although James I, Elizabeth's successor, was more papist in his leanings than Elizabeth, he remained in the Church of England. However, he increased the persecution of Protestant sects that existed outside of the official state church, which Elizabeth had tried harder (if not always successfully) to tolerate. The Reformation both allowed these radical sects to spring up and kept James I from the severe persecution implemented by the Inquisition in Catholic territories. This had a direct impact on the colonization of North America. The Protestant and Puritan groups who believed that the English Reformation had not gone far enough to purify the Church were persecuted to an extent that made staying in England untenable, but they were not wiped out. This led to a solution that suited everyone: the establishment of colonies, which removed problematic religious groups, such as Puritans and Quakers, from the British isles, putting an ocean between their troublesome ideas and their home country.

The Reformation, therefore, indirectly impacted the direction and tenor of colonization in at least some of the American colonies.

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This is a big question. So, here are some thoughts . . .

The first thing to be aware of is that with the Protestant Reformation there really wasn't any longer a single unified Christian Church in the West. Rather, Western Christiandom shattered into lots of different denominations and smaller churches, and this created a lot of social and political instability, because religion was a very powerful force in people's lives.

This instability is perhaps most obviously seen in the religious wars. Additionally, it should be noted that this armed religious conflict could take the form of Civil War, as is perhaps most clearly expressed in the French Wars of Religion. Interactions between Catholics and Protestants were very often mired in sectarian violence.

In addition, you can discuss institutional suppression imposed by the State, in favor of one Church over another. Consider the Spanish Inquisition (which ultimately answered to the Spanish Crown), or the English anti-Papist Laws, or Louis XIV's decision to revoke the Edict of Nantes. There is also the subject of censorship and consider the effects it might have had on the exchange of ideas and self expression.

In short, there's a lot you can examine in the Reformation and a lot of places you can take this question.

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