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Protestantism in the Holy Roman Empire

Autor:   •  May 13, 2018  •  646 Words (3 Pages)  •  259 Views

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Richelieu supported the Lutheran cause because of his growing concern of the Habsburg’s wealth and power. Both Henry IV and Cardinal Richelieu were known as “politiques,” or someone who favored politics over religion. According to Richelieu, weakening the power of the Habsburgs was paramount to fighting for the Catholic religion, especially considering France was surrounded by Habsburg territories. Thus, in 1631, the Treaty of Bärwaldewith was enacted by the French which agreed to fund the Swedes with 1,000,000 livres each year in return for the Swedes maintaining an army within the German states against the Habsburgs. This so called “French Fund Swedish Swords”(3) marked a significant shift of the war from religious to political motives. The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 had both religious and political effects throughout Europe. The Edict of Restitution was rescinded and Calvinists enjoyed religious toleration throughout Europe. The Habsburgs lost territory and influence, and the balance of power shifted toward the French. Ultimately, the Peace of Westphalia marked the end of the conflicts that developed out of Protestantism but monarchs and princes certainly used this initially religious conflict to meet their political goals.

Primarily caused by the growing influence of Protestantism in the Holy Roman Empire, the Thirty Years War would soon have major political implications and the power of the Habsburgs would soon begin to decline. Sovereignty of the state over religious and political affairs would be a major theme at Westphalia and this concept of a balance of power would eventually lead to the development of early modern Europe.

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