DBQ: The Protestant Reformation

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The Protestant Reformation was a dynamic force in Europe during the 16th century. As it altered the way many people viewed both religion and the Catholic Church in particular, politics, religious beliefs, and practices began to change shape, creating two opposing lifestyles in the effected countries. Because the Catholic Church controlled much of the political scene in Western Europe, Martin Luther’s attacks were heavily aimed at the government. Individual princes were allowed to determine the religion of their territory; therefore, some considered Luther’s reforms a threat while others readily embraced them. In Document 1, Elton gives a relatively unbiased view as a historian by surmising that Protestantism only flourished where the authorities favored it and was stifled where ever they opposed it. A key resource in Luther’s radical teachings was the printing press, which allowed “God to spread His Word” said Guttenburg as he hailed his own invention (Doc. 2). This new machinery allowed Luther’s propaganda to spread and encouraged higher literacy rates, so people began to use his philosophies as a reason to revolt against the political machines of the times. However, as peasants started rising against their lords, Luther condemned them on the grounds that no one should set himself against his superiors in…show more content…
While Catholicism focused on obeying the regulations of the Church and respecting the supreme authority of the clergy – which were reinforced by power-hungry clergymen like Loyola -- (Doc. 5), Protestantism emphasized admittance to heaven by faith alone. Once Martin Luther came to this conclusion, he stopped fearing God and began loving him for his justice and mercy (Doc. 3). This was Luther’s transition from Catholicism to a new way of viewing Christianity, and he quickly began to spread his
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