Question:In an essay which includes an introduction and conclusion (the introduction describes the main idea of the essay and how the essay will develop the idea and the conclusion is a summary based on information in the essay and a capstone answer to the question posed), discuss what the "big picture" "habit of mind" is and then apply it to the material in chapter 24. The essay should review 3-5 of the most important changes that transformed Europe 1500-1800. Make certain to identify the change, giving a date, names, places, and recount the story of change. Then analyze the significance significance of the change and how it transformed Europe.
I have an example of a satisfactory essay for your consideration: During the sixteenth century, Europe endured a myriad of transformations that altered all facets of its established institutions. These changes were profound and morphed Europe into a formidable region of power and influence. Transformation began when the religious unity of Europe was shattered through religious dissent. The dissolution of religious unity began a series of reformations and rebellions that swept Europe in a tidal wave of change. Aside from religion, Europe’s political, scientific and economic institutions were also transformed in this pivotal era of alteration.
Religious transformation began with the dissent of a lone German monk known as Martin Luther. Luther had become dissatisfied with the church’s sale of indulgences, which were pardons that absolved an individual’s sins. He thought the act of selling pardons only illustrated the pretentiousness, greed and corruption of the church. Therefore he denounced the church and “in October 1517, following academic custom of the day, he offered to debate publicly with anyone who wished to dispute his views, and he denounced the sale of indulgences in a document called the Ninety-Five These.” (Bentley 631). Luther’s dissension spread through the region like wildfire and sparked major dispute. And in 1520 Luther was excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church. Luther’s lone act of dissent paved the way for religious protest and “during the 1530’s dissidents known as Protestants-because of their protest against the established order-organized movements in France, England, the low countries, and even Italy and Spain.” (632). Soon, the dissension escalated into the Protestant Reformation. Luther’s rebellious views became quite popular and by the mid-sixteenth century about half the German population had adopted Lutheran Christianity. England also left the Roman Catholic Church and established Anglican as the new religion. A man named John Calvin also established a form of Lutheran Christianity known as Calvinism
throughout the French- speaking region of Switzerland. In an effort to respond to the dissension, the Catholic Church began to undertake its own version of reformation. Their reformation began with the Council of Trent. “The Council of Trent was an assembly of bishops, cardinals, and other high church officials who met intermittently between 1545 and 1563 to address matters of doctrine and reform.” (634). The Council of Trent intended to establish strict moral policies that would be followed by church authorities. It also aimed to expand their dwindling numbers of worshippers. The religious unrest of Europe eventually escalated to conflict. “Religious wars wracked France for thirty-six years (1562-1598), for example, and they also complicated relations between Protestant and Roman Catholic states.” (635). Religious conflict also hit continental Europe when a conflict known as the Thirty Years War broke out. The conflict began when the “Holy Roman emperor attempted to force his Bohemian subjects to return to the Roman Catholic church and the main battleground was the emperor’s territory in Germany. Other parties soon entered the fray, however, and by the time the war ended Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Swedish, Danish, Polish, Bohemian, and Russian forces had taken part in the conflict.” (636).
Though the Thirty Years War was a ravaging conflict for all of Europe it also had profound political implications. The beginning of imperial fragmentation began when Charles V inherited leadership over Germany, Bohemia, Switzerland, and parts of northern Italy. During his era of rule, Charles did not rule his principalities under one administrative infrastructure, instead he ruled over each of the regions with its own laws and customs. But because of the religious rebellions and other foreign challenges, Charles was not able to establish his empire as the primary power base in Europe. As a result, Charles gave up his holdings to a new era of monarchs. And “during the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, rulers of these lands, known as the “new monarchs,” marshaled their resources, curbed the nobility, and built strong centralized regimes.” (639). The new monarchs included King Henry VIII of England, Louis XI and Francis I of France, and Fernando and Isabel of Spain. The new monarchs began to establish their reign by developing new sources of income to supply their rule. The Spanish and French instituted sales taxes, and the English gained a hold over the church wealth. With their increasing wealth, the new monarchs began to enlarge their administrations and expand their militaries. The new monarchs also began to curb the power of the nobility so that they could have little opposition to their rule. Political evolvement continued “during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as they sought to restore order after the Thirty Years’ War, European states developed along two lines. Rulers in England and the Netherlands shared authority with representative institutions and created constitutional states, whereas monarchs in France, Spain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia concentrated power in their own hands and created a form of state known as absolute monarchy.” (641). Constitutional government in England began to take hold during the seventeenth century after the disposal of King Charles I. Charles had been beheaded by parliamentary forces who convicted him of tyranny, as Charles was in constant conflict with members of his own parliament and often acted without their approval. The issue began to come to a resolution in a bloodless exchange of power known as the Glorious Revolution, which had Mary and her Dutch husband William of Orange, assume the throne. “The resulting arrangement provided that kings would rule in cooperation with parliament, thus guaranteeing that nobles, merchants, and other constituencies would enjoy representation in government affairs.” (641). The Dutch also began their construction of a representative government. The creation of their government began in 1579 when “a group of Dutch provinces formed an anti-Spanish alliance, and in 1581 they proclaimed themselves the independent United Provinces.” (641). The provinces were guided by a representative government that handled local affairs. The Dutch and the English also allied with merchants who supplied the regions with income in exchange for policies that looked after the interests of the merchants. In contrast to the constitutional states was the emergence of absolute monarchies. The best example of an absolute monarchy was the rule of the French monarch, King Louis XIV, also known as the “Sun King.” Louis rule was possible through the supervision and control of the nobility. Louis had members of nobility set up residence at his palace in Versailles, where he could keep an eye on them. “In effect, Louis provided the nobility with luxurious accommodations and endless entertainment in exchange for absolute rule.” (644). Absolute monarchy also emerged in Russia, where it was instituted by Peter the Great. Peter used European influence to mold the Russian empire into a tightly centralized regime. This greatly increased the power and influence of Russia and Peter’s rule established the capital of St. Petersburg and created a bustling seaport. Another important factor in the political evolvement of the European territories was through the signing of the Peace of Westphalia. The treaty was implemented after the end of the Thirty Years War and it “laid the foundations for a system of independent, competing states. Almost all the European states participated in drafting the Peace of Westphalia, and by the treaty’s terms they regarded each other as sovereign and equal.” (646).
As the political structures of Europe evolved, so did the economic components. The economy evolved as population and urbanization increased, as a result of the Columbian exchange, which decreased mortality. This demographic spike amplified economic growth. And “this economic growth coincided with the emergence of capitalism-an economic system in which private parties make their goods and services available on a free market and seek to take advantage of market conditions to profit from their activities.” (649). Capitalism became more influential as entrepreneurs were aided with transportation and communication links and were therefore able to take advantage of market conditions. Capitalism also led to the spread of banking facilities throughout Europe’s major capitals. The banks served the same functions as those of today, they looked after monetary holdings, granted loans and provided current information on the market holdings. The rise of joint-stock companies also showcased the progression of Europe’s economic institutions. The joint-stock companies had a major influence on the economy as they began to partake in larger commercial ventures. In addition, “they were the principal foundations of the global economy that emerged in early modern times, and they were the direct ancestors of contemporary multinational corporations.” (651). Entrepreneurs also began to find new ways of manufacturing goods, and with the rising European population they had a major workforce to choose from. Often, entrepreneurs sought rural laborers who would create the goods and send them to the entrepreneur, who would then sell them on the market. This arrangement became known as “the putting out system.” The “putting out system remained a prominent feature of European society until the rise of industrial factories in the nineteenth century.” (652).
The transformation of Europe also began a series of renovations in its scientific and cultural infrastructures. The rise of logical reasoning began with the proof of Copernicans theory that the earth and the other planets revolved around the sun. This shattered the age-old notion of Ptolemy’s theory that the sun and other planets revolved around the earth in a static and unchanging universe. The proof of Copernicans theory led to a revitalized view of the heavens that motivated others to seek truth about the nature and reality of our world. Famous astronomers such as Johannes Kepler and Galileo used their telescopes to scan the heavens to gain new insights. Astronomy was not the only area struck by change, philosophy and science also received renewed interest. Isaac Newton used mathematical and scientific reasoning to come to many new conclusions about the natural order of our world. “Newton’s vision of the universe was so powerful and persuasive that its influence extended well beyond science. His work suggested that rational analysis of human behavior and institutions could lead to fresh insights about the human as well as the natural world.” (658). This era of progressive thinking became known as the Enlightenment. This enlightened era of thought showcased the evolvement of the scientific and intellectual enterprises of Europe and established Europe as a hotbed of rational and progressive thought.
To conclude, Europe’s transformation was one of utmost importance to world history. Europe developed along a unique line of development as they progressed towards the evolvement of all their establishments. Their evolvement was due in part to their mariner missions, which established the first links with the rest of the global community and expanded their power and influence. It was also due in part to the great monarchs and rulers who aided in the transformation by restoring stability. The dissolution of religious unity also played a front role in the transformation, as rulers used it to expand their influence and build power bases. The religious conflicts also set the role for political change, which created strong centralized governments that led to more stabilized regions that were less prone to civil conflicts. This allowed the political establishments to evolve without much discord. In turn, economic growth also flourished as the Europeans established new market systems with their newfound travel and communication links. Stability also paved the way for more enlightened thought, as intellectuals began the pursuit of knowledge and rational thought. Overall, Europe’s alteration had great repercussions for humanity as its influence and power spread throughout the world and it established Europe as one of the world’s principal powers.
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