For the last 2 episodes we have focused primarily on the political question in Europe during the sixteenth century we look specifically at England and the rise of Henry the eighth as well as Elisabeth as well as the English victory over the Spanish during the Anglo Spanish war.
This week our survey’s going to turn to the question of religion. During the first 2 episodes of our to our religion has already played heavily into our story it has been the cause of warfare throughout Europe and specifically in England likewise it was the cause of several attempts on the life of Elizabeth the first.
The reformation is a critical turning point not just for our story but for the entirety of western history. Since the fall of the western Roman Empire for 76 the church has remained among the most politically relevant and powerful entities in Europe suddenly that power and influence the church had yielded for centuries was called into question. And it should surprise nobody this would lead to decades of strife and conflict throughout the continent which we’ve already started to see the reformation would send shockwaves throughout Europe that’s going to last from the 1517 publication of the 95 theses up until the 1648 treaty of Westphalia.
We’re gonna spend time this week looking at what caused the rift in the church dating back to the great schism corrupt popes and the sale of indulgences these are the actions that are going to lead to the general distrust of the church and the belief that had become a corrupt entity and is these things that men like Martin Luther will flock to when they begin debating the issues that existed within the Catholic Church and the eventual separation from it we want to take a brief look at the effects of the reformation as throughout Europe people began to look at the religious question as the church began to lose its influence over portions of Europe in a desperate attempt to cling to the power that it once had Europe is going to enter into a period of over 100 years of warfare as the church and the monarchs who supported fought to preserve that influence.
Finally we’re gonna turn back towards England and look at the special case of the church of England unlike the decisions by the academic Luther the church of England was founded for pragmatic reasons instead of the theological dispute and the eighth Peter Norman from Catherine of Aragon which the pope refused to grant in response the eighth rejected people authority and began the English reformation. Religion is going to remain near the core of the story as we move through this podcast several episodes from now we’re going to begin to look at the Puritans as they prepared across on the Mayflower largely driven by religious persecution.
Likewise in the United States even up to this very day religion remains closely tied to the politics of the nation we will see time and time again how religious movements directly influence the politics and directions of the country I mean when John Kennedy ran for the presidency there was real concern that as a Catholic he was going to be subservient to the pope.
Religion is going to end up in a central theme of this podcast because it is so often impossible to separate it from the political questions being raised. Before we jump in for today I do want to note that I’m going to do my best throughout this episode to go through with a minimal amount of theology I am 1000000 miles away from being anything resembling a theologian if you’re looking for the religious history and causes of the reformation you are in the wrong place today I plan to focus solely on the events leading to and the effects of the reformation politically I do not plan to delve into the theological reasons and the changes stemming from the reformation.
I would like to begin by looking at what caused the reformation in the first place the simplest answer is that concerns over growing corruption in the Catholic Church is what proved to be the ultimate cost however this alone is underlined by other pressures that were present at the time the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg the century prior had made mass dissemination of ideas much more practical and will prove to fuel the movement.
A general feeling that the church was becoming more crap to begin to spread it by the later part of the fifteenth century and into the early sixteenth century and while there were multiple reasons for this feeling of corruption mainly they stemmed from the Albion papacy century before the issue that will bring everything to a head however is the church’s practice of selling indulgences know what is in adults indulgence is a method whereby a person can avoid punishment for sin where they have already been forgiven in terms of guilt without going too deeply to church doctrine with this basically means is that if a person confesses their sin by purchasing an indulgence they can either avoid punishment in the afterlife or shorten the length of that punishment to receive an indulgence there are a few basic requirements the person must have been baptized they cannot be excommunicated and they must be in a state of grace at the time that they receive the indulgence which typically means they have gone to confession and confess their sin indulgence can be purchased for individual use or beginning of 1476 can be purchased for use on somebody who is already deceased indulgences did not come cheaply either by the time the reformation they generally cost between 1.2 and 1.5 percent of the person’s angle thank.
The church did place some limitations on what kind of sends an indulgence could be used on indulgences could only be used on temporal since nothing much more serious mortal sins mortal sins are the serious sins in the eyes of the church and are viewed as a separation from the person committing the sin and god. A temple St or venal sin is seen as a much more minor action if murder is a mortal sin giving somebody the finger in traffic is a venal sent.
For the church the sale of indulgences was a major source of revenue indulgences were always something that were in high demand as they presented a product that could offer salvation to you or a loved one in the afterlife. Indulgences were not an invention of the church during this era however they have become much more common lightly sweeping prior to the reformation.
It appears that these changes likely started around the eleventh century by bishops throughout France and Spain. Had it been the situation were punishment for sin was having to fast for a week a local bishop could sell an indulgence that might reduce that punishment to a single day.
The expansion of indulgences by local bishops grew and developed between the eleventh and sixteenth century what he once been something that was meant to flow through a pope as a reward for good acts had become something of an economic tool in this vein by the time the sixteenth century begins indulgences had become a primary source of fundraising for the church and the critical component of its economy.
A big part of the problem economically is the important role of indulgences for the local economies and for indulgence sold for outside the papal states a sale of indulgence acted much in the same manner as a city bond with today as a method to fund public works projects things like hospitals and schools were often run by the local church and they came to depend on the funds from the sale of indulgences to operate problems arose from the fact that the funds being raised in Germany where then having to be shared with the papal states imagine passing a bond to build a school your small town of 25000 people and then being told that a percentage of the bond was required to be sent to the national capital thousands of miles away indulgences were largely viewed among the population the same way we are the one paying for these indulgences and for our building projects why is that money being sent to the holy see. What this leads to is an increased anti clerical and anti Italian sentiment throughout Germany and this helps explain why the German people were so willing to accept the reformation when it came.
Tensions reached a head in 1517 with the rebuilding of St Peter’s basilica the Peters had fallen into a state of disrepair during the great schism when the papers he had relocated to having on France something which we’re gonna talk about a little bit more momentarily.
In order to rebuild the basilica pope Leo the tenth issued an indulgence for anybody who would give resources to the rebuilding of Saint Peter’s. The problem in this case is that will indulgences had long been use for public works projects it was generally something that was viewed for the public good again like building a school or a hospital this was different the rebuilding of Saint Peters is a project not to help the community but something that would only benefit the church and specifically Rome.
The church was not hiding this fact either this was an ostentatious project the church hired leading architect of the day Rafael to design the new church elaborate art projects were commissioned for the new basilica all of this to benefit primarily one man the pope. By this point indulgences have moved from being a source of salvation to being a business venture. The nature of this particular indulgence infuriated Martin Luther Luther writes a number 27 of the 95 theses that they preach vanity who say the soul flies out of purgatory as soon as the money thrown into the chest rattles I think this particular quote by Luther sense that the anger nicely by this point there was not even the pretense anymore that indulgences were anything more than an economic tool with the product bean salvation. It is the sale of salvation that is the impetus that pushes Luther to write on the correct nature of the church Luther did agree that the pope had the power to grant a pardon however he took specific issue with indulgences being used as a source of fundraising in other words Luther did not view repentance as something that could be purchased.
The sale of indulgences feel the general says the church should become increasingly corrupt 100 years before Luther the church was coming to the conclusion of the great schism which occurred as a result of the Anping PPC. This event had laid the foundation for an underlying feeling of distrust towards the institution. The entire legacy of the effing on papers he had left a bad taste in the mouth of the collective population. Well the feelings of corruption were rampant during this time the other aspects of the reformation that cannot be ignored is the ability of the new Protestants to disseminate information on a much more massive scale than the church.
In the 14 forties Johannes Gutenberg can develop the printing press what followed most of the times with the Cultural Revolution. Much of this revolution manifested itself drain the reformation suddenly information could be reproduced and spread at a rate that had been previously unfathomable. This was seen across society numerous wakes. He also had a major effect on scholarship and theology. Right after the invention of the printing press a large portion of the work being done was the process of copying text.
If a book was deemed important enough the only way to preserve it was to copy it by hand this is a task that fell to the theologians as they had the education necessary to read and write something critical when making copies of texts. The printing press freedom a lot of that time it had been previously just used to copy. This means that suddenly there was a lot more time for independent thought. Thoughts that could be turned into new writing expressing these new beliefs which then in turn themselves will be made available in large numbers via the printing press Furthermore the sudden appearance of so much additional reading material help push greater numbers of people towards being able to read to really drive this point home 1 study I found compared the number of books on religion published by both the church and the Protestants between 1521 in 1545.
During this period the Protestants published 1707 works compared to 992 for the Catholics at every point during that time the Protestants were simply producing more material the Protestants were able to exploit the mass media of their day to spread their ideas and arguments meanwhile the Catholic struggled with the new medium to defend their teachings. Finally consider that with good Enberg became a much cheaper and easier way to obtain bibles. Prior to the invention of the printing press bibles were extremely expensive as they had to be had read it
now Bible the came relatively cheap and we’re something that we’re now assessable I am much greater portion of society. As literacy rates begin to rise more and more people have access to the Bible and thus were able to form their own interpretations of the text. And while it may be an overstatement to say that the invention of the printing press into the monopoly that the church held in the Bible at the time the printing presses impact on theological thinking was profound. Prior to the printing press it was almost always the clergy that we disseminate the teachings of the Bible.
Now however the Bible had a much greater availability so the further reinforced by the fact that the Bible is now being translated into local languages as opposed to just let it. Suddenly the ability to read that it was not a prerequisite to reading the Bible and this further expands the number of people who had access to the book.
With rising literacy in corruption in the form of indulgences being the 2 leading factors for the reformation movement still required a spark to ignite that spark will come from the German monk named Martin Luther Martin Luther was born in 1483 in Saxony into a middle class family by all accounts Luther was curious and bright child and lived in a family that placed a high value on education Luther’s father Han’s help that he said would become a lawyer something which appeared likely as Martin Luther had already begun studying the lock. However following what was likely an apocryphal story about a particularly fierce thunderstorm in which Luther swore that he become a monk should he survive Luther is survive and it was off to the monastery.
He made his first trip to Rome in 1510 and would later reminisce of the corruption that he viewed well in the city well it’s impossible to say what the effects of this actually worth the time Luther would later write about the negative impression he had of Rome itself it is certainly possible that much of his feelings during this time was a sense of culture shock as he traveled around Rome keep in mind he’d come from a small German city likewise it is also possible that Luther was embellishing those feelings to fit his narrative at the time as all of these writings are maybe years after the actual trip.
They would join the faculty at the university of Wittenberg teaching theology in 1511 it was 3 this position at the university that Luther would offer the 95 theses as well as other works. Well at the time he was considered humanness the evidence actually supports the opposite and that despite using certain humanistic elements in his teachings Luther held a dark view of human potential in view of the supremacy of god these feelings towards the view of human potential as compared to this permissive god laid the foundation hello there would eventually come to see the pope and his position in the church. The traditional story of how Luther came to find his beliefs is from experience in the tower of Augustinian cloister Luther claimed that will in the tower he spent time meditating when suddenly all scripture became clear to him specifically Luther said that through the reading of Romans 117 he had a revelation that would spark and push his reformation the specific line the Bible states the righteousness of god is revealed from faith for faith as it is written he who through faith is righteous shall live.
Well the idea of a sudden revelation is a more dramatic telling of the story it seems unlikely that such an event ever actually occurred yet Luther told the story of the tower years after the events supposedly took place and near the time of his own death in reality the story also seems unlikely as evidence supports Luther not being a revolutionary at all at least initially something we are going to discuss more momentarily the events that led to the reformation reportedly came in late October of 1517 on October 31 of that year Luther made his disapproval of the indulgence of rebuild Saint Peter’s basilica now.
As the legend goes this they’re fired the opening salvo of the reformation when he nailed a copy of the 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg this day continues to be celebrated to this day as reformation day the start of the reformation in reality the events of October 31 seem very different lives there didn’t send a letter to bishop Albright von Brandenburg where he includes a copy of the letter he called the disputations of Martin Luther on the power and efficacy of indulgences the work which would become much more famously known as the 95 theses beyond that however there is little evidence that anything else actually took place on this date there is no proof that Luther every chance to nail his work to the church and in fact that would go against the likely reality.
Is it Luther had not initially intended to be a revolutionary but rather he had hoped that writing on the matter of indulgences would spur an academic debate regarding their issuance and they’re used by the church there is little evidence at this point that Luther was seeking to actually confront or overthrow the church’s hierarchy he viewed his writings as an opening to an academic debate on the ology not a wholesale renunciation of Catholicism Luther had spoken on the subject of indulgences previously and had never ignited a firestorm like what was coming.
More than likely Luther would have failed to recognize the significance of what was happening. And at the same time pope Leo the tenth probably didn’t understand the gravity of the situation either he had long been dealing with the battles of different religious factions namely the Augustinians and the Dominicans.
o the pope the writings of Luther would have hardly been a unique problem and we have initially been little more than an annoyance with the pope even Luther fail to recognize is that much of the public was particularly receptive to this type of ground swell at that particular moment Luther had struck a chord with people who were angry with what have been perceived as a corrupt institution thousands of miles away in Rome. Luther tapped into this very significant well of anger towards the church in regard to indulgences as well as the anticlerical and anti Italian sentiment that we talked about earlier Luther through his work had captured their feelings and their thoughts and put them into writing Luther for his part reveled in the accepting audiences he thought as he travelled well indulgences were at the heart of his complaints he also found accepted an agreement with his other theological points.
This is not to say that Luther wasn’t without its detractors though following the 95 theses there was a strong call from his opponents that he must return his obedience to papal authority the initial response of the church was to have a people feel about the name of Silvestro Mazzoleni of PTO right against the 95 theses this work focused on the infallibility of the church and in fact when a long ways to cement to live through that the church was in fact fallible something that his supporters already knew and we’re more than happy to accept in October of 1518 the third read to a meeting in Augsburg with colonel could Jatin the hope is that during this meeting Luther would agree to make peace with the church something which he continued to refuse to do at this point however it still doesn’t appear that Luther was in a place where he was looking to actually break with the church evidence still supports that he was looking simply to clarify his positions this is going to remain the case in 1519 when Luther agrees again to meet at the university of Leipzig where he would have just as much of an opportunity to clarify his thoughts yet again however much as in the case of Augsburg the thrust of the discussion was focused on getting there to return to church doctrine.
The final break does occur in 1520 when Leo the tenth issues a papal bull,nding the third to retract a majority of the 95 theses. With the responded to the warning by the church in a dramatic fashion he will publicly burned the papal bull as well as the works of your heart ask a leading counter reform of the era as well as volumes of canon law. Here to this point nothing that Luther had done really had that revolutionary feeling to it all along he had seen this is more of an academic debate rather than view himself as the leader of a much larger movement however Bernini people bowling canon law well that is a radical move. Less than a month after this in January of 1521 Martin Luther was officially excommunicated. Later in 1521 the diet of worms Luther was tried for his heretical beliefs Luther for a final time refused to reverse course on his writings. Recently Luther was declared a heretic and his writings were outlawed and his arrest ordered.
This will be moved to the Kaslo Warburg where he enjoyed relative security during the time that Luther was in Warburg the revolution continued outside. It is here where the printing press made such a dramatic difference reformist republishing huge amounts of material during this time and the printing press made the dissemination of information and ideas so much easier it allowed the ideas and ideals of the reformation to spread throughout Europe in a way that was previously unimaginable.
The writings were getting increasingly radical Luther himself wrote in the address to the Christian ability of germination that the pope had become a threat to the government of Europe and portrayed him not as being the head of the church but rather as an imposter placed on earth by the devil himself. Luther was calling the pope the anti Christ.
Luther had started a wildfire that the church would struggle to contain for the next 0 years. By the middle of the 15 twenties Luther had turned its attention to found a new church well there were numerous differences between the Catholic Church in the Nutrish being organized by Luther for the sake of this podcast really the only critical thinking now is that the main difference is in the organizational structure. Now it wasn’t lost on Luther that placing himself or anybody at the head of the church would simply be tantamount to replace the pope with the new pope. Is that Luther’s church place the Bible at the head of the church believing that scripture should stand above all else.
For a revolution with the printing press was so integral to its spread it’s only appropriate that the Bible itself will become so central to the church. Luther was far from the only voice in the reformation that would make a difference John Calvin is often viewed as the other giant of the time a French lawyer turned pastor Calvin will make his own breaking the 15 thirties.
Through his writings Calvin was separate himself from many of the loop threats today most of the Baptists and Presbyterians sects of Christianity can draw other histories to the teaching of John Calvin. Others would emerge during this time as well Whisenant ease the spreading of theological writings and ideas will proliferate throughout Europe for much of the sixteenth century unlike with Catholicism there would never be just one type of Protestant and it’s this flexibility that would largely cater to regional differences in a way that a single church never could and this goes a long way towards explaining why the reformation was able to spread as efficiently as it did the Catholic Church was not going to simply sit idly by and watch its influence over Europe slip away as the ideals of the reformation began to spread throughout Europe it became imperative that the church as well as the Catholic nations work together to turn back the tide what would result with a century warfare between the European powers. The fighting following the beginning of the reformation will be particularly devastating to the holy Roman Empire which was at that time made up of mostly modern day Germany this is the cradle of the reformation the people fighting here are the same people who supported live there from the beginning though nearly a century after the 95 theses was originally published the 30 years war would prove to be the key militia of this period of European warfare.
The 30 years war devastated the holy Roman Empire. And the word today can be looked at in a similar fashion to how we would view World War one in terms of its destruction. The sheer length of the fight and the shocking number of casualties were unlike what Europe had ever seen I’ve seen several estimates however the number of dead alone may have approached 8000000. I’m not planning on diving into these wars as generally they’re not going to be critical to our story but here are a couple things you should be aware of the biggest impact from the wars within the holy Roman Empire however at the fighting would spread all over Europe specifically Protestant rebels in the Spanish Netherlands would fight a struggle that lasted nearly 80 years against the Spanish Habsburgs that cleverly named 80 years war is the conflict that the English would entertain the 15 eighties that got Philip the second so upset and brought on the Anglo Spanish war which we talked about in our last episode.
The instability caused by the reformation lasted until the peace of Westphalia which was signed in 1648 the peace reached at Westphalia was generally viewed as the end of the reformation and this piece establishes a balance in Europe that would largely remain intact up until the world wars of the twentieth century. Central to our story the peace promised the recognition of 3 forms of Christianity Catholicism Lutheranism and Calvinism. Furthermore a degree of religious tolerance was agreed to in the piece at least in how it applied to the other Christians well the individual nation would decide their official sponsored following it was agreed that people will be free to practice any of the 3 accepted forms of Christianity in private without any reprisals. Now a couple other notes from the peace of Westphalia the peace of the Spanish formally recognize the Dutch Republic in in the 80 years war most importantly for Europe the peace brought in into the 30 years war.
Interestingly enough then pope innocent the Tampa nor the holy see appear to have supported the peace at all however by this point most of Europe was very ready to move forward and simply ignored the people protest to the peace. The treaty was failure can also be with some debate used to mark the beginning of the long slow decline of the Spanish empire we are gonna conclude this week by returning to England to possess the gate we discuss the immediate political fallout from Henry the eighth break with the church we look to the transition under Henry the eighth to the violent purges and her merry the first and eventually the Anglo Spanish war under Elizabeth the first. What we did not spend any time looking at in any kind of detail was why Henry the eighth chose to split from the church beyond him needing that enrollment from Catherine of Aragon so now I’m gonna rectify that we are going to head back to the reign of Henry the eighth for a brief overview of the events that start the English reformation.
Now the quick crash course from our episode 1.2 following his ascension to the throne Henry the eighth merry’s Catherine of Aragon the daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain. Unfortunately for Henry Catherine failed ever produced the son that he needed suffering through several miscarriages and producing a daughter Mary the first. When it became apparent the captain was not going to produce a male heir for Henry he was left with essentially 3 choices the first choice is that he could wait for merry to come of age and then hope that she would produce a male heir the second choices he could legitimize his illegitimate son Henry fitz Roy. Or his third choice he could in his marriage with Catherine and re marry Henry was concerned with his own potential lifespan and did not feel comfortable waiting for merry to come of age.
And while he did love his son the legitimization of Henry fitzroy was fraught with political dangers but no other options and with Catherine appearing to be intriguing to early menopause the only option for Henry was to leave Katherine and re marry. By this time Henry had become interested in Amblin and begin the process of leaving Catherine unfortunately for Henry leaving Catherine was not going to prove to be easy easy as he’d hoped now getting out of a marriage in the sixteenth century was not as easy as it is today for Henry he was gonna have to get permission from the church if he was going to be able to leave Katherine in order to accomplish this and return to the Bible where he found a passage in the book of Leviticus.
What we found was a passage that stated marrying your brother’s wife was in here and that the guilty couple shall remain childless for Henry this gave him all the answers he needed Henry’s argument was that the marriage between himself and Catherine was invalid and she had been previously married to his brother Arthur following the death of Arthur Henry decided to take Katherine has his own life understanding the importance of a political alliance with the Spanish now however nearly 20 years after making the decision to Mary Catherine this provided him with the way out of the marriage. Yeah there was the obvious problem that Katherine Henry were not childless merry existed. And further Henry had been aware of this earlier as he had previously gotten permission from the church to wed Catherine.
Pope Julius the second had granted Henry permission to Mary Catherine due to this very problem despite this however for Henry this was the best solution he had and in his mind it was close enough. Information in hand Henry said colonel Thomas mostly to appeal to pope Clement the seventh directly asking him to annul his marriage to Catherine. Now on paper pope Clement the seventh had a problem that none of the information being presented to him was new he was aware that the church had granted Henry permission for the marriage in the first place and having Henry come back now and claimed that he had it all been an impediment to the marriage was not seen as a valid argument by the pope.
The public however had a second much more serious problem you see cavs nephew with the holy Roman Emperor Charles the fifth Charles by this point was an immensely powerful figure in Europe. This caused considerable issues for pope Clement under most circumstances he probably would have gone ahead and granted the divorce for some concessions of course doing so would have upset Charles something that Clement was not wanting to do the fear was not unfounded either earlier in that same year 1527 Charles had sacked Rome and he basically help pope Clement prisoner.
Stuck in the uncomfortable position the pope did what most people would do in his situation he did everything he could to stall and to his credit the pope did a really excellent job of stalling holding the divorce up for the next 6 years. By 1529 it appears that Henry had become aware of a second potential option. We’re not 12 years past the publication of Luther’s 95 theses the reformation of mainland Europe was in full bloom and Aline being rather well read was interested in the ideals of the reformation and may have even been influential in introducing these ideas to Henry himself. At this point it was becoming increasingly clear that the church was not planning on moving on the enrollment anytime soon in 1528 the pope decided to delegate this matter to to papal representatives 1 was cardinal Wolsey the representative that Henry had said to the holy see to plead the case in the first place the other was cardinal Campillo what was he was a safe bet to support the enemy can PGL was far less flexible can PGL taking a page out of the playbook of pope Clement chose to stall rather than actually address the issue.
Can piece you did such a good job at this that ultimately the council that was brought together to decide the fate of Henry’s marriage had to be dissolved without ever reaching a decision. The repercussions from this site Thomas wills leaves fall from grace and Thomas Moore was sentenced to replace it. It is 1529 that we see the reformation parliament for well the original purpose of the reformation parliament was to deal with the Thomas Wolsey situation it was ultimately this parliament that would end up passing the majority of the reforms that would set the basis for the English reformation.
By the beginning of the 15 thirties Henry become desperate to settle the matter of the marriage interview madness he pushed the charge the entire clergy under the statute of pre minority. Cremin ari made it illegal in England to recognize the supremacy in order of any foreign entity over the monarch this is been in place since the late fourteenth century and was seen as a method to check the power of the papacy in England in other words even ari was meant to clarify that in England the king stood above all others.
And well this would be resolved through a financial agreement it goes to show the rapidly worsening conditions between Henry in the church. Out of patience and with them possibly becoming pregnant Henry overruled papal authority had a special court convened in England to decide the issue and in 1533 had the marriage between himself and Catherine declared null and void. Days later the same tribunal declared the marriage between Anna Henry to be valid. With the question of marriage now complete Henry turned his attention back because the church in 1534 Henry issue the act of supremacy officially naming himself as the head of the English church this leads to the eventual excommunication of Henry in 1538 though the process appears to begin as early as 1533. What will follow in England it was 70 years of religious strife England would briefly returned to Catholicism under merry the first before returning to the church of England under Elisabeth.
Rain her reign Elizabeth would face constant threats from Catholic detractors namely Mary queen of Scots who made repeated attempts on the English crown Catholics in England posed a constant risky to Elizabeth throughout her entire range. Internationally she also faced pressure from Philip the second is that pressure with Philip that’s going to eventually lead to the impetus for the English Spanish war in the 15 eighties. But unlike the reformation throughout the rest of Europe the English reformation still stands apart in the case of Calvin and Luther the Bible had been the front and center of the new church Luther had been cognizant of the dangers of replacing the pope with a new hierarchy that would simply take the place of the papacy.
In England however Henry the eighth in Nord this precedent and placed himself at the top of the church hierarchy. This is an incredibly powerful move on the part of Henry not only is he now the head of state but he’s also the head of the church Henry is now involved in every single aspect of his subjects lives for Henry the eighth he was in every way the center of the English universe not only did they have to turn to Henry for Matt is a state they needed to turn to him for matters of salvation. This is exactly the thing that men like Luther had wanted to avoid in the first place Henry the eighth embraced it the other key difference between the reformation in Germany and the English reformation is that the English reformation was based in political realities rather than through a theological dispute by all accounts it appears that had the pope granted the divorce in the first place Henry would never have considered breaking with the church there is no evidence to suggest that Henry had been anything but a loyal Catholic up until this point as time progresses the English church is going to break into different factions you’re going to still have the main church of England that we know today however you are going to see separatist groups appear such as the Puritans now we are going to talk about the Puritans later as these are going to be the same people who are ultimately going to travel across the Atlantic and found the Massachusetts Bay Colony when we reach the episodes on the Massachusetts Bay Colony we’ll start to look into what they were all about the reformation is a turning point in the history of Europe and the history of the world. Gone was the age of people’s privacy over the whole of Europe and in its place given entirely new church structure beyond the media wars and conflicts of this would be to the reformation also demonstrates the power of the printing press and time and time again we are willing to witness the incredible power that comes with the easy and rapid dissemination of ideas when we reach the American revolution in much the same way we’re going to see the power of the pamphlet grow and the power of mass dissemination of new ideas through reading word it’s during the reformation that this really finds a foothold through the power of the printing press at the same time for our story the reformation lays the foundation for the churches and religious beliefs that are going to proliferate in the American colonies I said at the beginning of this episode the history of politics in the United States is in many regards a history of religion in the United States this is something that continues to ring true today it is a topic that we are going to return to often throughout the course of this podcast. Religion remains a huge driving force even now in the politics of the United States. Next time we are going to continue our survey of Europe right before the establishment of the first English colonies in North America and look at the question of the economy. Throughout the sixteenth century the European economy will go through some substantial changes Europe will begin to move away from the old medieval economies and could begin to embrace a new capitalistic system as mercantilism will begin taking over.