Reformation and Consequences: Crash Course European History #7 (1)
[[TV Window]] Hi I'm John Green, this is Crash Course European History, and today we're
going to watch religious reform spread, while states shape up their operations to make them
better adapted to governance.
And also making war.
Mostly making war.
As you'll recall from our last episode, the Peace of Augsburg was supposed to settle
the religious divisions that resulted from the Protestant Reformation.
I mean, it was called the Peace of Augsburg after all.
But, well, Stan, unfortunately we're going to have to switch the TV to the religious
INTRO [[TV: Religious War]] The 1555 Peace of Augsburg
did bring peace to the Holy Roman Empire, temporarily, at least.
Although I guess all peace is temporary.
Really, everything is temporary.
I'm sorry, what were we talking about?
We'll get to existentialism later, but in the meantime, there was turmoil almost everywhere
else in Europe.
For one thing, monarchs were starting to see the need to centralize and professionalize
the exercise of state power.
This was necessary because they needed more money, especially for weaponry, including
increasingly lethal cannons, and money for building roads, harbors, and ships--so they
could move war-making stuff around, and also other goods.
To pay for all of this, they used better tax collection--and also piracy and global expansion.
Both Ivan the Terrible in Russia and Suleyman the Magnificent, the Ottoman sultan, were
taking new territory.
And moreover, with Protestantism fragmenting and moving so swiftly in many directions,
there was a sense that unifying a state's people, notably in religion, would hold kingdoms
together and keep citizens prospering instead of killing one another.
European monarchs also employed legal scholars to help regularize the law and use it to unify
The monarchs who focused on instituting tight state organization and expanding royal power
are sometimes called the “New Monarchs,” even though of course now they are quite old.
Stan informs me that in fact they are not old, they are all currently deceased.
But as these new monarchs sought to consolidate, new religious sub-groups, or sects, were constantly
splintering European communities.
As Protestantism evolved, some of these sects promoted more radical kinds of equality that
fanned out from the idea that all people could have a direct connection to God.
and that proved problematic not only for religious hierarchies, like the Catholic Church, but
also for political ones, like aristocracies and monarchies.
Some Anabaptists, for instance, used sola scriptura to experiment with polygamy, citing
the Bible's command to “be fruitful and multiply.”
And Quakers encouraged women to preach and engage in religious activism.
Now that was radical.
Let's go to the Thought Bubble.
The appeal of new sects, and reformers, and preachers
2. pulled at the fabric of political unity and secure power that monarchs desperately
Jean Calvin of France was foremost among these reformers.
Like Martin Luther, Calvin started by studying law
5. and, like Luther, eventually dropped it for theology.
Then in 1534, large posters denouncing the Catholic Church appeared all over Paris
7. —an event called the Affair of the Placards.
French authorities rounded up suspected Protestants,
executing some of them,
10. and causing others, including Calvin, to flee.
France and the French—even those from the highest ranks of the nobility
12. --became violently divided among religious factions for several generations.
Meanwhile, from exile in Geneva, Calvin set up a theocracy—
that is, a state based on and run according to religious doctrine.
Calvin's most important addition to Protestantism was the concept of predestination.
Calvin maintained that God had determined even before the creation of the world
17. which of its humans would be saved and which would be damned as sinners.
For a variety of reasons, he felt that citizens needed to be strictly regulated to keep them
from falling into sin and to maintain their godly nature.
So, for instance, he imposed fines for drunkenness, and blasphemy, and dancing, and gambling.
But wait a second.
Those are all of the major hobbies.
Thanks, Thought Bubble.
So, Calvin's theocracy in Geneva came to be known as the Protestant Rome;
it was the epicenter of the Reformed Church, and Calvin himself was seen as a “father”
to the many who left their families to participate in this experiment too.
Calvinism became even more far-flung than Lutheranism,
with communities springing up from the British Isles to Hungary and other parts of eastern
[[TV: Henry VIII]] so, at the same time, Henry VIII of England was using Protestantism in
an entirely new way--to get divorced and acquire land.
Henry was working to consolidate his kingdom after a long civil war known as the War of
the Roses, and he was married to Catherine of Aragon, who was the aunt of Charles V,
which made her a politically desirable spouse if not the perfect romantic match.
Henry's circle included famous Christian humanists like Thomas More, and also the noblewoman
Anne Boleyn, who backed religious reform and with whom Henry was enamored.
and that was a bit of a problem, as Henry was already married.
Refused a divorce by the pope, Henry cut his ties with Rome, divorced Catherine of Aragon,
banished her from his royal court, and then announced himself to be the head of the Church
He then gained support for this move by selling off Church lands, especially monasteries and
convents, to aristocrats and other wealthy allies to keep them on his side.
The Church of England or “Anglican” doctrine was modified slightly from that of the Catholic
Church, but the main change was that the power of the state increased dramatically in England
by combining secular and religious authority in one figure: the king.
It also meant that instead of shipping money to Rome, more wealth flowed into the royal
Plus it meant that Henry could marry Anne Boleyn, which he did, and then later executed
her for purported treason.
Thomas More was also executed for refusing to acknowledge Henry as the head of the church,
and although power had been concentrated in the state, the actual citizenry remained very
divided over religion.
[[TV: Mary Queen of Scots]] This came to a head after Henry's death.
Initially, Henry's nine-year-old son became King Edward VI, but he died, possibly of tuberculosis,
at just age 15.
After a struggle for power, Henry's daughter Mary became Queen of England.
Mary wanted to take England back to the Catholic Church and soon married a Catholic, Charles
V's son, Philip II of Spain.
This move might have united England and much of mainland Europe under one royal family
and the Catholic Church, except that Mary died in 1558, at the age of just 42.
[[TV: Elizabeth I]] Mary's sister Elizabeth, who'd been persecuted and for a time imprisoned
during Mary's reign, became Queen, and restored England to Protestantism.
Although Mary's husband Philip wrote that he “felt a reasonable regret over her death,”
he ended up missing Catholic England very badly--so badly that he launched the famous
Spanish Armada to take back England for his family and the Church.
But thanks in part to bad weather, Elizabeth's England defeated the armada.
Elizabeth built up the royal treasury and found a more moderate path when it came to
religion than either her sister or her father had found.
Philip, meanwhile, managed to bankrupt Spain despite all the New World gold and silver
that was flowing in.
One of the great lessons of history is that wars are expensive,
another great lesson of history?
Don't forget about inflation.
Philip and his court did not have a great understanding of inflation, and did not comprehend
why the appearance of more gold in Europe led the price of gold to decline.
[[TV: Iconoclasts]] Meanwhile, In France, the spread of Calvinism tore at the French
crown and nobility as it stirred controversy and conflict in cities.
Ideas of Calvinist reformation merged with social and political resistance in France
as city councils and aristocrats began to fight over the role of both church and state.
Did the globe open up?
Is there a gnome in there?
It's a statue.
And in France at the time, people began smashing statues of saints and breaking the noses of
statues of the Virgin Mary.
These people were called iconoclasts--that is, Literal destroyers of icons
Iconoclasm sounds kind of fun.
I'm gonna try destroying this icon.
I feel powerful.
We shall rise up and say no to garden gnomes!
Especially in films!
Like Gnomeo and Juliet.
And the other one.
We shouldn't be making jokes.
All this led to Civil War.
Gallicanism--a French interpretation of Catholicism-- arose in the cities and towns of southwestern
Gallicanism held that French political authority—not the pope in Rome-- ruled the Church in France.
French Calvinists, meanwhile, became known as “Huguenots.”
Religious wars broke out in 1559.
Rival leaders in France, even in the face of political disaster, refused to come to
The Catholic-Protestant division increased until a group of nobles was assassinated in
1572, and then thousands of Huguenots in Paris and elsewhere were killed in what is known
as the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre later that year.
[[TV: Henry of Navarre]] A Huguenot named Henry of Navarre narrowly escaped death in
the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre; years later, he would lead Protestant forces against
the Catholic government in the Civil War before eventually converting to Catholicism, purportedly
saying, “Paris is well worth a mass.”
And that's how Henry of Navarre became King Henry IV of France.
But although Henry was now Catholic, he issued the Edict of Nantes in 1598, which allowed
Protestantism in the French Kingdom.
Like Elizabeth, Henry was a politically savvy monarch who found middle paths through difficult
Those who put aside their personal beliefs to accomplish political tranquility, especially
in France, came to be known as politiques.
These days, of course, it seems impossible that politics could increase tranquility,
but imagine how political slickness must have seemed to a 16th century French or English
I mean, war beget war beget war--until monarchs found a different way.
And from that perspective, politics is--dare I say it--magnificent.
[[TV: Window]] Across Europe, the conflict over religion drew in an extensive cast of
characters—among them both high-born aristocratic women and common women rioting in the streets
of major cities.
Luther himself had argued for the equality of souls but an inequality in public life,
writing, “The dominion of women from the beginning of the world has never produced
any good; as one is accustomed to saying: ‘Women's rule seldom comes to a good end.'
When God installed Adam as lord over all creatures, everything was still in good order and proper,
and everything was governed in the best way.
But when the wife came along and wanted to put her hand too in the simmering broth and
be clever, everything fell apart and became wildly disordered.”
Still, the “Protestant Reformation” had a lot of appeal for many women.
The idea of a direct relationship with God via scripture encouraged common people, including
women and girls, to learn to read.
Protestant women set up schools for Protestant girls.
And of course in England, a woman ruled both the nation and the church.
Now even with the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and the Edict of Nantes, the century-long
lethal struggles over religion were not entirely over, but several momentous changes had occurred:
new ideas about human spirituality had been born and taken hold across Europe; people
so fervently believed in these reformed religions that they left home and family to create new
communities; new-style monarchs had aimed for earthly power and begun to consolidate
government, in part to pay for instruments of religious warfare; Spain under Charles
V and Philip II had gone from riches to rags in order to enforce Catholicism.
Next time, we'll turn our attention to the less political revolutions taking place in
16th century Europe--revolutions in commerce, and agriculture, and urban development, as