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German Peasant Revolts

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Introduction

The peasant revolt in the German states were caused by multiple reasons, such as wanting payment as well as having the freedom to choose where to work, and resulted in multiple responses by the nobility, who refuse to allow free peasants from their serfdoms without reasonable compensation and fellow Protestants, who either raged against the peasants who were involved or, once the revolt ended, decided that they were forced to do what they did. Although, the revolt was initially driven by religion, it was continued by anger at the social oppression the peasants were receiving as well as wanting to actually be paid for their services rather than being treated as slaves. These causes resulted in the revolt being condemned by the leader of Lutherism, Martin Luther himself. However, after the revolt was crushed, the heads of governments, especially the Holy Roman Emperor, who decreed that the nobility be lenient to the peasantry as they were put back to work, and suggested some sort of payment, as to not incite another revolt of this kind. ...read more.

Middle

Also, in Document 3, the preacher states that while it is not right that the peasants actually openly revolted, the nobles should have expected that the peasants would want payment, especially after the Black Death. However, the peasantry is not the only one that is interested in money. In Document 5, the nobles write back to the Peasantry Council, stating that they will agree to set the peasantry free from their serfdoms if they pay the nobles a reasonable sum of money. The most important cause of the peasants' revolt in the German states is the social oppression the peasants were receiving from the nobles. Document 9 states just that. He ridicules the peasants for revolting, yet at the same time condemns the nobles for not doing their duty of leading and protecting and paying people for their services rather than forcing the peasants to do whatever the nobles demand of the peasants, which, according to the peasants in Document 5, they did, and in Document 6, the nobles believe that what they are doing is justified by Christianity, even though the peasants do not. ...read more.

Conclusion

Because of this predicament, and understanding that the reasons for the revolt were legitimate, in Document 12, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V declared that all the peasantry be welcomed back to their serfs with open arms and good terms, and that they get paid. This was to make sure that another revolt did not ensue. Charles already had enough troubles fighting off invaders from the outside, he could not deal with the inside strife. Also, in Document 1, the Chancellor believed that the rebellion would be crushed swiftly and that the peasants would change their minds about revolting and things would be back to normal in no time. Because of this, the Peace of Augsburg was signed, to ensure peace so that Charles could fend off invading enemies. Wanting payment as well as having the freedom to choose where to work, and resulted in multiple responses by the nobility, who refuse to allow free peasants from their serfdoms without reasonable compensation and fellow Protestants, who either raged against the peasants who were involved or, once the revolt ended, decided that they were forced to do what they did were several causes of the peasant rebellion in the German states. ...read more.

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