REFORMATIONS AND POLITICS
Reforms and politics are intertwined concepts that share the same ideologies. They both aim at making changes in the ever-evolving political world. In a broader perspective, reforms are not only constrained in the political scene but rather in other socialistic aspects such as Christianity. Political reforms are means through which constitutional laws are improved thus providing a political system that is focused on providing services for the good of its people. The main target is aiming for the approval from the public who have the power to mandate suggested reforms. All citizens have equal rights on voting for or against any political reforms developed by the governments’ officials. The progressiveness of political reforms strengthens the governmental systems and draws attention to specific areas of concern in a nation.
Reforms prompt the awareness of the governments by pointing out the major issues or flaws in policies and laws. The federal governments therefore work towards correcting these anomalies through amendments of some constitutional laws and policies. Reformation has been termed as the most philosophical process experienced across Europe that brought the much-needed change in its Christian and political system. Some of the reforms had a religious inclination but resulted to influencing the political systems as some of the regions were under the rule of the Roman Empire that was operated under the guidance of the Roman Catholic Church. Through out history, political reforms have been a contributing factor to the progression of governments.
The German peasant revolt is one of the many examples of protests that led to political reforms. It depicts the strong influence that Martin Luther had on the European people. He disagreed with the doctrines that were taught by the Roman Church and was disgusted by the level of corruption that existed amongst its ranks. According to Martin Luther, the services that were offered by the Roman Catholic were unfulfilling. His ideas spread through out Europe influencing the mindsets of many and he is known as the great initiator of Protestant Reformation. He published several scholarly articles such as The Ninety-Five Theses, which focused on the major issues of concerns as regarding the conduct of the Roman Catholic. It addressed issues such as nepotism, sales of indulgence, usury, simony and pluralism. The sale of indulgences was perhaps the factor that led to his complete dismissal of the Roman papacy altogether. The main reason behind the revolt was aristocracy gruesome massacre of more than 100,000 peasants.
The Peasant Reformation took place in Central Europe. There were underlying motivational factors that had led to the revolt by this group. The Christian faith having been prevalent in Europe, the peasant farmers had started reading the Holy Bible. It was through these that their mindset evolved. They started to question the rulership of their lords who had the liberty to enslave and rip them off as they pleased. They questioned their equality, as they understood that before Christ, all human beings were equal with none being superior than the other. Besides the derived notion of equality of man, also other influential happenings precipitated the revolt. This included the heavy levied taxes by the feudal system and the epic failure of crops in Germany. The emancipation of the peasants was under the leadership of a man called Hans Muller, who formed a group called “Evangelic Brotherhood” that swore to protect the rights of equality for the peasant minority in Germany.
They drafted their demands that were to be met and implemented to put a stop to the revolt. The demands totaled to 12 articles, all aimed at alleviating the oppression that was directed towards the peasant minority. The demands included the right for pastor’s dismissal by the congregation if deemed unfit to lead the Church. Tithing was to be done out of free will and the contributions were to be directed towards funding the church and the pastors while the excess was to help the poor in the community. They demanded the end to serfdom, as according to their religious beliefs of equality, rulers had no right to enslave their people, as before God all are equal. The death taxes that were imposed by the feudal governments were to be abolished as they oppressed the orphans and windows in the community forcing them to pay taxes for their deceased loved ones.
The assumption of the peasants’ demands by Martin Luther and the lords whereby they failed to address the issues raised by the serfs fueled the resolve to revolt causing an uprising from the peasants. The surprising factor was Martin Luther’s stance on the peasants’ revolt. He understood the action taken by the peasants but felt that they had no right to demand equality as their role was to be subjected to farming as the leaders maintained the peace in the society. However, he maintained that they had the right to oppose to the heavy levied taxes and forceful tithing. The cruelty depicted by the rulers lead to violence and massacre of hundreds of peasants and harsher rules placed on the surviving lot. The failure of the revolt was due to the inexperienced military skills and lack of ammunition against the war-trained armies led by their rulers. Despite the fact that it failed, it formed the basis of the impending revolts that would later on ensue.
The other major reformation that took place in England was the Protestant reformation. Just like the peasant reformation, it was based on Lutheranism and was comprised of a great following that shared the same sentiments as Martin Luther as regards the Roman Catholic Church and its doctrines. The reformation was an attempt by the Protestants to reform the Catholic Church that displayed dismal conduct in upholding bible teachings. The major issue that aggravated the situation was the selling of indulgences, the act by the priests that required the followers to make a financial donation in order to receive absolution of sins. The issue on corruption in the Roman church became a concern, which further fueled the reformation efforts. The reformations that took place in this period in time show that indeed reforms are necessary in abolishing rulership and laws that oppress the people rather than contributing to the quality of life. The measures taken by the reformists were extreme to the extent of dying in the name of the cause, portraying that they were deeply motivated and would ensure their voices were heard and issues addressed. Reforms are an important element in the political and religious disciplines as it allows for improvements of nation’s policies thus ensuring that all the rights of the citizens are upheld.