Analysis Of The Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre

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Barbara Diefendorf's book, The Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre is a window into the struggle of religion and secular power during the Protestant Reformation. Beyond the social elitism, mob mentality is an ever-present force that is ignited during the Religious Wars. Differences in religion are a contributor to factional tensions. Manipulation by religious leaders and misunderstanding between the two religious sects’ practices create this religious tension. Although Protestants and Catholics share the core teachings of Christianity, a struggle for secular power, feelings of tribalism, and conflicting religious ideals not only solidify the schism between these two sects of Christianity, but escalated these tensions to bloodshed.
Secular power
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A sense of identification that comes with being a part of a religious factions along with socioeconomic reasons lead to the spreading of the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre. Johann-Wilhelm paints a picture of rampant thievery, barbary, and murder toward Huguenots. One specific point he mentions is, "more than four hundred peasants and farmers came into the city so as to pillage and steal, in recompense for the losses they had suffered during previous troubles. They butchered and massacred the unfortunate Huguenots without mercy" (120). This description appears to be focused less on religious furvert against the Protestants, but rather peasants were searching for a form of societal reparations. This mob mentality potentially stems from both a search for power in a societal and religious structure that relegates them to the bottom of the social hierarchy and unity among their fellow caste members. Such a mentality among the peasants shows the disincentive for religious tolerance among Catholics and Protestants because this conflict gave peasants carte blanche to take resources and lives without fear of legal repercussions. Before the Catholic purge of the Huguenots, Protestants launched their own preemptive attack as Claude de Sainctes explains that large masses of Protestants gathered in wait for a reason to start conflict. The final trigger that released the mob was said to be "the sound of the bells and claimed that they were interfering with God's Word" (65). Created the source is of Catholic bias, but it does show that religion gave excuse for factions to act with violent impunity against their fellow man without feelings of religious or political ramifications. Claude goes on to state that the Protestants not only hurt and murdered people, but "they broke up the blessed Sacrament, threw it to the floor, and ground it under their
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