Western Civilization II, W4/L20 – The Spanish and Dutch Revolts, the French Wars of Religion, and Elizabeth I’s Religious Policy

(1) What were the causes and consequences of the Spanish revolt that occurred after Charles left to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor?

    The causes of the Spanish revolt were that Charles V was disconnected from the Spanish. They saw him as an outsider, and it did not help that he appointed his own people as government in Spain. Perhaps because of this, the Spanish cities wanted local self-government and revolted against Charles. While they may have initially supported the Spanish cities, the Spanish nobility eventually grew concerned that the local cities would turn against them as well. Not wanting the revolt to turn into a class war, the Spanish nobility joined ranks with Charles V. The revolt left Spain exhausted, allowing Charles to consolidate his power and rule absolutely.

(2) What were the causes of the Dutch revolt? What was the “demonstration effect”?

    The Dutch revolt happened because the Dutch were appalled by the inhumane measures being taken against Protestants in the Netherlands. Even Catholics in the Netherlands, tolerant though not too fond of Protestants, thought Philip II was going overboard in persecution of Protestants. The revolt lasted some eighty years and resulted in the “demonstration effect” after the Netherlands gained independence from Spain. The demonstration effect showed how countries that were not ruled by a king could prosper economically if they upheld property rights and religious tolerance.

(3) Who were the contenting parties in the French wars of religion? What was the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre? What was the Edict of Nantes?

    The French wars of religion were fought by French Protestants, called Huguenots, versus French Catholics. The Catholics were backed by the French regent, King Charles IX’s mother Catherine. While Catherine originally granted the Huguenots religious freedom, she soon became convinced they were going to try and dethrone her son. This resulted in the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. On St. Bartholomew’s Day, the Catholics attacked a mob of Huguenots, killing some and injuring many. In an effort to quell the fight between Catholics and Protestants, the Edict of Nantes was passed, granting widespread freedom of worship to France.

(4) Describe the religious policy of Elizabeth I.

    While Elizabeth I originally tried to allow religious tolerance in England to appease both Catholics and Protestants, she eventually grew tired of the constant fighting between the parties. In an effort to appease both sides while also putting a stop to the bickering, Elizabeth I created the Anglican Church. The church had elements of both the Protestant and Catholic faiths, and a prayer book in English rather than Latin. She also passed the Act of Uniformity, which stated that everyone in England must attend Anglican church on Sundays, and use the new English liturgical book.


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