Category: History Essay

This was a schism started in the 16th century by western Christians particularly Martin Luther and John Calvin. In 1517, Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses were posted, which catalyzed the spirit of protesting against the ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, its rituals, leadership, and doctrines. It resulted in the establishment of national Protestant churches. Earlier contributors to this spirit of protest were the Black Death, the Western Schism, and the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire and the invention of the print media.

The Roman Catholic Church, in a bid to counter this protestant movement, formed an ecumenical council named the Council of Trent. Northern Europe, except Ireland, turned to be Protestant as Britain and Netherlands. Southern Europe remained as an affiliate of the Roman Catholic Church while battles ended the courtesy of this Roman Catholic-Protestant contest in Central Europe.

The largest Protestant churches at that time were the Lutherans and the reformed churches, which were mainly in Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Scandinavia. Since the official beginning of the Protestant movement in 1517, with the publishing of the Ninety-Five Theses, the European warfare around this issue finished only in 1648, when a peace agreement, the “Treaty of Westphalia” was signed.

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There were priests who opposed the teachings and doctrines, especially the issue of indulgence. Another issue of concern was the corruption and the power which was vested in the pope, namely legislation, financial control, and judicial appeals, the legitimacy of which was questioned by Luther. The power of the pope, termed as “indulgence”, was challenged. In 1521, Luther was excommunicated from the Catholic Church, which marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

In October 1517, Luther hanged his Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences on the door of the castle church in Wittenberg Saxony. There were protests against the power of the pope, the purgatory doctrines, the compulsory celibacy of the clergy, the intercession of saints and devotion to them, as well as the church’s concentration on the Virgin Mary.

In later years, the Protestant movement changed according to doctrinal differences. Luther first differed with Zwingli, then with John Calvin. The result of this was the formation of several denominations such as the Lutheran, the Reformed Church, the Puritan denominations and the Anglican Church in Britain.

Most Protestant churches derived from German denominations. The corruption in the Roman Catholic Church caused wars in western nations and was termed as “schism” of the Western Christian Church. The Council of Constance, launched by the Roman Catholic Church, could not stop this schism as well as the war in Bohemia (1378-1416). Sixtus IV established the sale of indulgence that was meant for the dead. This created a new source of revenue with agents all over Europe (1471-1484). Thereafter, Alexander IV (Pope from 1492 to 1503), despite the compulsory celibacy of the clergy, fathered seven children by at least two mistresses. This, however, was not the main reason for Luther’s Thesis, fourteen years after the death of Pope Alexander VI. He was more agitated by the sale of indulgences of the same Pope.

Most of the Protestants date their movement to the 16th century, particularly referred to Magisterial Reformation. This enjoyed the state support, unlike the Radical Reformation which was deprived of this support. However, there are Protestant churches which dated their origin from the 15th century the Unity of Brethren and the Bohemian Brethren.

Lockean System of Government.

John Locke, an eminent philosopher of the 17th century, wrote his Two Treatises of Government in 1960. In this book, he wrote about democracy and how power should be separated into a democratic state. In his view, a government’s main work is to provide security for its people and their property. If there was a failure to accomplish any of this task, people held a right to overthrow it. In other words, the people held perpetual power to disband a government that does not provide security for its people and their property.

He wrote about legislative, executive, and federative power. Locke suggested that since the laws that govern society can be made in such a short time, then there was a dire need of keeping a permanent legislative body. He also insisted that there was the need to ensure that the people, who are given the power to make laws, should not be involved concurrently in their enforcement. The reason was that is responsible for the execution of laws, they could be tempted, due to their human nature, to exempt themselves from such rules. Ultimately, such a move could compromise regulations and order in societies. He, therefore, recommended a separate body of people, known as the executives, to enforce the laws. This body needed to be permanent. The reason was that unlike introducing laws, which required a short time, their enforcement was a continuous process that had no end as long as the society existed. This also ensured that the legislature was subjected to the same laws they introduced. The argument is that if one is subjected to the same laws he makes, he will do a good job as he is a victim of unsuitable regulations.

Federal power exists where different societies are involved. Although there are natural laws of how one relates to his human counterpart, it does not prevent controversies arising among members of different societies. Locke contends that in such a situation if one is said to be injured by another person of a different society, this becomes a matter of public interest. The afflicted is represented by his society as one body against the other society. Such relations between societies make the difference in peace, war, alliances, and coalitions, which Locke saw as the federal power. He proposed this power to be given to a party different from the legislature and the executive of the given society. This party had to deal with inter-societal matters to the best of their knowledge or, as dictated by their skills, in diverse matters for the advantage of their society.

Concerning the separation of power, Locke wrote about subordination. Here, the legislature was supreme. The executive and federal governments were subordinate to the legislature. However, the people were given the p