Impact Of The Protestant Reformation On Children

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1. Introduction The Protestant Reformation was a period of factionalism between the Catholic Church and Protestant Reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin. The Protestant Reformation period saw a great number of religious wars fought between factions belonging to the Roman Catholic Church and the reformers. The Protestant Reformation impacted significantly on the position of men, women and children in the family and marriage. This essay seeks to illustrate the influence the Protestant Reformation, in the 16th and 17th century, had on the position of women and children in the family, with specific attention to Western Europe. Moreover, this essay will determine whether the impact of the Reformation on women was positive or not. Finally, the essay will explain the role the Church played in maintaining a certain vision of marriage and family in society. 2. Protestant Reformation influence on Children The 16th and 17th century saw an inordinate amount of attention placed on children in the family. This was due to Protestant leaders’ preference of familial and societal order over disorder. Key to maintaining this order was paternalism or patriarchy. Protestant leaders saw paternalism or patriarchy as the most efficient way of maintaining familial order (Watt, 2001: 143). Additionally, paternal discipline was viewed as a necessity (Watt, 2001: 143). The importance of paternal discipline translated itself to Protestant theologians and magistrates perceiving themselves as

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