Secular authorities come over to Lutheranism 1524-1545

  • Created by: Kate H
  • Created on: 28-04-15 08:57

Extent of success of Reformation ideas in cities a

  • 51/65 Imperial Cities became Protestant
  • People in the cities willing and ready to repsond to ideas
  • Gradually one city council after another gave into popular demand and would demand the preaching of the 'pure word of God'
  • Ultimately they would tolerate Protestant worship and declare Catholicism banned
  • This occured even in Nuremburg, the most stable of the cities because they feared for the unity of the city
  • Timescale for this differed greatly and depended on the city's stategic position in relation to neighbouring Catholic princes or the Emperor. E.g in Regensburg although ideas were widespread by 1522, the Reformation didn't happen until 1542 for fear of neighbouring Catholic state of Bavaria
1 of 8

What was an Imperial Free City?

  • Cities not under control of any prince and owing allegiance directly to the Emperor.
  • Reform not imposed by merchants or magistrates, in nearly every documented case popular support was registered
  • E.g in Ulm, were citizens were asked to vote on whether to maintain the Reformation, 87% voted yes
  • Some controlled the surrounding countryside
2 of 8

Why was preaching effective at spreading the messa

  • 'sermon addiction'- many would sit for hours 
  • Many cities endowed preacherships- 31% of towns in Wittenburg- in order to satisfy demand, long before Luther
  • Often informal, given in churchyards and had great novelty value 
  • Suited to less educated with lists, repetitions and quick summaries
  • Could stir up violence 
  • Luther thought to have preached over 6000 sermons
  • His impact as a preacher important in 1522 when his intentions were displaced due to Carlstadt and Zwickau prophets- he tooked control and drove them out of town
  • He addressed audience in a familiar style, very enthusiastic and aggressive
3 of 8

Factors explaining special success of Urban Reform

  • Higher degree of literacy- printed word spreads more quickly and a printing house
  • Easy to buy pamphlets of listen to sermons in central square
  • Tight communities and ideas spread quickly 
  • Often wealthy throughtrade and open to influences from outside world 
  • Priests preaching too radical such as Carlstadt would take up residence in new cities and spread the word
  • Cities under the control of a local bishop may have seen it as an oppertunity to break from control and strengthen indepedence
  • Eradicate friction between Church and town councils
  • Revenues confiscated from church useful addition to city funds
  • Social change affected attitude- trade led to greater chance of movement between classes; made people more receptive to change
  • Public image of councils enhanced - guidance of scripture 
  • Confraternity- religious society of which guilds were classed- they effectively owned the trade system. Like patronage; if mastercraftsman reforms, the apprentice does too
  • Defence mechanism- better to go along than see rebellion
  • Town council educated 
  • Town council would control offices in church
4 of 8

Which key princes reformed, and when?

  • 1524 Melanchton managed to convert Landgrave, Philip of Hesse
  • 1525 Elector Frederick's successor John of Saxony 
  • 1525 Grand Master of the Tectonic Order, a crusading order of knights, converted to Lutheranism, secularised the Order's estates and declared Duke Albrecht of Prussia- Brandenburg
  • 1525 Hesse and John of Saxony joined the Lutheran league of Torgau along with Brunswick, Grubenhaugen and Mecklenburg and others (minor princes)
  • Duke of Bavaria didn't- major reason South does not reform
5 of 8

Why did Princes reform?

  • Material gains involved- he would take over church lands and use them for his own purposes. Luther wanted to set up a common chest from sales of church lands for good deeds such as setting up universities to educate the clergy. He gave sanction to secularise church property.
  • Hesse used former monastic revenue to finance a university and set up a hospital. 60% of what he acquired was spent on charity and the rest on worship of the church
  • Strong tradition of anti-clericalism and dislike of Italian pope, which encouraged them to assert their independance
  • Removal of authority of the church would increase their power, as their was no longer need to defer authority to the pope. E.g bishops could be appointed and revenue collected to benefit the state
  • Luther's own teachings, such as the 1520 writings, suggested that the influence of the church should only be in spiritual matters. He gave the rulers the task of reforming the church, supervising its organisation and preserving order: this was an attractice prospect.
  • Princes were concerned that his teachings would create social disorder- 1520 writings and Freedom of a Christian Man he seemed to be advocating that peasants were equal in the eyes  of God. However, when a revolt broke out among the peasants, Luther gave his support to the princely authorities and it was crushed- made it clear Lutheranism was on the side of order, so many princes were ready to accept it
  • Not as much threat as towns- no threat to their positions as it was their birthright
6 of 8

What were the advantages to Lutheranism of a princ

  • After 1529 and revolt of peasants they were able to proved organisation, discipline and most importantly military protection
  • Land they control reforms too- quickly and effectively consolidates Luther's message
  • 1529 Diet of Speyer Catholic Princes call a halt to reform; Princes (Hesse, Saxony, etc) respond with the Protestation
  • Peace of Augsburg 1555- Princes won the right to decide whether or not to be Catholic eius regio, euis religio
  • Schmalkadic League 1531 enjoyed great success- military protection
  • Patronage- can spread easily 
  • Legal- issued by edicts which adds strength
  • Taken more seriously by Emperor than free cities, bigger political factor and controlled larger areas
7 of 8

Disadvantages to Lutheranism of a prince convertin

  • Bigamy of Hesse- 1523 unhappy marriage to daughter of Duke of Saxony but had affairs with prostitutes. Recovering from syphillis in 1539 met a 17 year old noblewoman and proposed. Wrote to Luther who begrudingly accepted, fearing he would leave the cause. Huge propaganda coup
  • Charles managed to weaken league by dividing it through political moves and force e.g 1546 alliance with the pope
  • Some princes more concerned with land and power than Luther's principles- Maurice of Saxony betrayed the cause
8 of 8


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Reformation resources »