10 THE AFTERMATH OF THE REFORMATION War, Piety, and Reason (1600-1800 C.E.) Sir Isaac Newton
248 The Reformation The sixteenth century set into motion forces that would radically change the world. France, England, and Holland would become deeply involved in empire building. In the seventeenth century, they would begin to replace Spain and Portugal as the great colonial powers. Exploitation of the colonies together with new ideas upholding individual rights and democracy ultimately led to the revolt of the thirteen colonies. The American Revolution in turn became the model for similar revolts in later centuries. Changes in ideas accompanied social and political changes. A stress on reason came to dominate the thinking of the intellectual elite. The belief devel-oped that if people could be freed from superstition and the misguided thinking of the past they could move into a glorious new age in which political decisions, morality, and religion would be based on reason. This enlightened thinking was closely related to the rise of science. The emerging scientific perspective promised to unravel all the mysteries of the universe and to provide humans with the tools to cure all their ills. In this chapter we look at historical developments that occurred in the aftermath of the Reformation. We then consider some of the more important religious movements in the two centuries after the Reformation. Finally we look at the church at the close of the eighteenth century RELIGIOUS WARS At the end of the sixteenth century an uneasy peace was established between Catholics and Protestants in Europe. This peace was not to continue in the seven-teenth century The Peace of Augsburg had left Germany terribly divided. There were numerous small states, each with its own religion. Political leaders exploited the religious tension for their own gains. Devout Catholics and Protestants resented each other's religion. Catholics had been encouraged to defend their faith by the Council of Trent. They began taking a harder position against the Evangelicals. The Jesuits especially struggled to regain lands lost to the Protestants. Such tensions would eventually result in the Thirty Years' War. In France, Henry IV had produced peace by extending tolerance to the Huguenots in the Edict of Nantes. The Huguenots' freedom was guaranteed by being permitted to maintain a number of fortified cities. Richelieu considered the cities a threat to the Crown. He launched a series of vicious attacks against the Protestants. These attacks began a long period of persecution that continued under successive leaders. In England tension continued between Protestants and Catholics. However, Puritans gained more power. They not only rejected the Elizabethan Settlement but also resisted the control of the king. This opposition eventually
249 War, Piety, and Reason (1600-1800 C.E.) led to a revolt that established a brief period of Puritan rule. In the following sections we review the religious conflicts in Germany, France, and England.