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Elizabeth And Luther: World-Shakers Essay, Research Paper
Elizabeth and Luther: World-shakers
Our society favors conformity over defiance. We would rather obey than question authority. We prefer passivity to activism. But who helped shape our world, who moved people to action, who prompted reforms? Those who went against the flow, who took the risks, who remained true to their convictions. They were the ones that changed society and made a mark in the history of mankind.
Martin Luther, religious reformer and Elizabeth I, Queen of England are among those whose names equaled defiance and reform.
Both non-conformists themselves, Luther was the leader of religious reforms in the 16th century while Elizabeth’s accession marked the great epochs of English history. Like Luther who dared to question the authority of the influential Catholic Church, Elizabeth severed ties with Rome and restored Protestantism as England’s official religion. Luther had to contend with the opposition from Catholics and so was Elizabeth who was marred by Catholic challenges and plots throughout her reign.
One of the difficulties experienced by Elizabeth in governing the English state was the prejudice against women rulers. It would have been hard for her to win the support and the cooperation of men in governing effectively. Elizabeth’s refusal to marry was another sign of her indignant character, refusing to share power with a husband. Like Luther she chose to tread the road less traveled by even if it meant being alone. Luther breaking away from the Catholic Church was like “fighting over windmills”, so was Elizabeth’s breaking away from the established monarchic tradition.
Luther and Elizabeth possessed the courage of their convictions. They did what they thought was right to do even when it meant considerable opposition. Although Elizabeth was known to have summoned the most number of parliaments, she undauntedly ended the sessions when she did not like the parliament’s advice. Luther who himself was an ordained clergy attacked the corruption of the medieval church and went on to shake its authority. Their capacity to act according to their principles affirms the strength of their characters. Very few people chose to follow their hearts like Luther and Elizabeth for fear of rejection and failure. They “made the road by walking through it” on their own. The approval of people around them was not very necessary to act on what they believed in.
Elizabeth was very much attuned to the issues of her kingdom even before her accession to the throne. This allowed her to bring about reforms, which were beneficial and pertinent to her constituents. Luther’s reforms focused directly on certain church doctrines to which he himself was knowledgeable of. Being immersed into their specific realities allowed them to advance their causes. After all, it is only in facing the problem squarely that you are able to solve it.
Both saw a higher reason for what they tried to accomplish in their time. They did not try to disagree for sake of being disagreeable. They were clear of the higher causes of their actions and so they were highly motivated to brave through bolder courses. Luther’s influence lives on in the religious world and Elizabeth’s 45-year rule decisively shaped the England of today.
Two people, Elizabeth and Luther, were on one way or another radicals, risk-takers or controversial figures who helped shape our society and made our world today much richer.
History of Mother Europe And the U.S. # 1
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