What were the social consequences of the Protestant Reformation?

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Perhaps the most dramatic consequence was the rise of vernacular literacy. Due to the "sola scriptura" doctrine, even Protestants who were members of the lower classes were encouraged to learn to read so that they could study the Bible. The notion that the Bible should be accessible to everyone meant...

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Perhaps the most dramatic consequence was the rise of vernacular literacy. Due to the "sola scriptura" doctrine, even Protestants who were members of the lower classes were encouraged to learn to read so that they could study the Bible. The notion that the Bible should be accessible to everyone meant that it was translated into the vernacular; over the long term, this led to the decline of Latin as the language of literacy. This led to an increase in social equality, and it also contributed to the growth of nationalism, as people no longer shared Latin as a common language.

In many Roman Catholic countries, high episcopal offices had been restricted to the aristocracy, something that aggravated social inequality. The notion of the "priesthood of all believers" in Protestantism weakened the distinction between clergy and laity and social inequality in general.

Because priests could marry and Bible reading at home was part of religious life, there was a greater emphasis on domesticity and an increasingly important role for women in the home as a center of moral life in Protestant communities.

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