Violence During The Reformation

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In both the cases of France and the Holy Roman Empire, two countries that experienced a great deal of violence during the Reformation era, religious upheaval played a more visible role than political tensions and, in general, countries that experienced less religious upheaval were more stable and therefore, experienced less violence. Therefore, although political tensions contributed to the great violence between 1300 and 1600, religious upheaval was a greater cause. Religious conflict between the Huguenots and Catholics were the linchpin of the French Wars of Religion. Although Francis I initially supported the Protestants as a political ploy against the Holy Roman Emperor; his conciliatory actions ended and the Parlement of Paris began…show more content…
With a minimum of 50,000 deaths between 1550 and 1770, the Holy Roman Empire had the highest death toll in Europe. With the rising social tensions associated with the constant military conflicts and religious tensions, the number of urban poor dramatically increased. Prior to the Reformation, monasteries and convents provided poor relief; however, Protestant countries removed these institutions and the urban poor no longer had the benefit of a social safety net. In response to the increased crime and social tensions that accompany an increase in the poor, people sought scapegoats. The Reformation’s concerns about morality, resulted in a newfound obsession with people’s behaviors which, consequently, made it easier to find witches. While witch-hunting became a genuine occupation in Protestant countries, it was not popularized in Catholic countries, where the Inquisition was still in effect. Because these institutions served different purposes, they achieved different results; for example, while both Catholics and Protestants wanted to catch witches, the Catholics’ goal was to teach heresy. Because Catholic countries had the Inquisition and poor relief institutions, they had less cases of witchcraft, and consequentially, less people were burned to death (lecture
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