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The Protestant Reformation Essay, Research Paper

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AP European History

Period 4

The Protestant Reformation

The Protestant Reformation changed the course of European history very strongly, and rapidly. This paper will talk about what exactly the reformation did to Europe, in terms of social, political, and philosophical impacts.

Before the reformation occurred, the general public was made up of an overall praying people. They accepted all aspects of the church, whether or not they personally believed in the idea or not. These aspects included indulgences. What indulgences basically are is a fee to the church, in exchange for the church to clear any sins one may have committed. People could even purchase indulgences for their diseased ancestors, saving them from any further punishment in the afterlife. With the reformation, the overall social beliefs changed dramatically. The public now doubted the validity, and truth of indulgences, and they even questioned their moral standing. The general society started thinking for themselves. They didn?t believe everything they now heard, no matter who they heard it from. This had a major role in the development of European history from a social standpoint.

The second impact in European history development was political. Throughout the reformation, one religious group was in argument with another. The Christian faith was now being split up at a wayward pace. What once was all Roman Catholic, was now split up in Lutheran, Calvinist, The Church of England, and also the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church was now battle with Martin Luther.

Finally, the philosophical effects of the reformation also had an impact on the development of European history. In the Protestant vision, true Christianity was based on “faith, grace, and Scripture, alone.” This is obviously quite different than the Roman Catholic belief. With the effects of the reformation, ideas and philosophies became more open, and spread out. People changed their views on the world, and Christianity. One of the most fundamental element in the reformation was the spirit of rebellious, self-determining individualism.

These three factors were the foundation of the reformation, which eventually shaped the outcome of European history. Probably for the better, some still argue reformation could have had some negative effects on Europe though. But whether positive or negative, I believe Europe would not be anything like what it is now, without the taking place of the reformation.


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