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Very Detailed Term Paper on the History of Religious Wars

The Religious Wars
[i:6c0accae62]History Essay[/i:6c0accae62]

The attempts by Catholic monarchs to re-establish European religious unity and by both Catholic and Protestant monarchs to establish strong centralized states led to many wars among the European states. Spain's attempt to keep religious and political unity within her empire led to a long war in the Netherlands, a war that pulled England over to the side of the Protestant Dutch. There was bitter civil war in France, which finally ended with the reign of Henry of Navarre and the Edict of Nantes in 1598. The Thirty Years War in Germany (1618-1648) had both religious and political roots, and left that area in political and economic ruins.

"Une foi, un loi, un roi."(one faith, one law, one king ). This traditional saying gives some indication of how the state, religion, and society were all bound up in people's mind and experience. There was no distinction between public and private, between civic and personal. Religion had formed the basis for social consensus in Europe for a millennium. Since Clovis, the French monarchy in particular had closely tied itself to the church and the church sanctified it's right to rule. France was "the first daughter of the church" and it's king "The Most Christian King", and no one could imagine life any other way.

"One faith was viewed as essential to civil order. How else would society hold together? And without the right faith, pleasing to god who upholds the natural order, there was sure to be disaster. Heresy was treason and vice versa. Religious tolerance, which to us seems such a necessary virtue, was considered tantamount to letting drug dealers move next door and corrupt your children. A view for the cynical and world-weary who had forgotten god and no longer cared about the health of society.

Innovation caused trouble. The way things were is how they ought to be, and new ideas would lead to anarchy and destruction. No one wanted to admit to being an "innovator." The Renaissance thought of itself as rediscovering a purer, earlier time and the Reformation needed to feel that it was not new, but just a "return" to the simple, true religion of the beginnings of Christianity.

These fears...

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