The Most Significant Peasant Revolt in European History

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During the 16th Century, Europe and the Holy Roman Empire was experiencing a grand accumulation of uprisings. Along with the Protestant Reformation (1517) and the Dutch Revolt (1568-1609), the Germanic states and the Holy Roman Empire were home to one of the most significant peasant revolts in European history, the revolt of 1524. Causes of the revolt include the unfair treatment of serfs by nobles and the evolution of Lutheranism and protestant reform in peasant culture. The nobles were under the assumption that the commoners would follow them blindly with regard to rules and therefore treated the poor as slaves to do their bidding. In addition, the peasants looked towards the protestant revolution and felt that if someone could speak out against the church, they could also speak out against their constricting authority in the name of God. At first, the strikes were turning in the peasant’s favor while the government had yet to respond to the pillaging of its lands. The inevitable responses of the authority, however, were less than favorable. Martin Luther, who was once looked upon with admiration by common folk betrayed them in an attempt to keep his religious from sinking. He told Charles V to crush the revolution and wrote a book condemning the movement called Against Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants, and Charles gladly obliged. By 1525, the revolution was suppressed and hundreds of thousands were left dead. In the aftermath, the peasants were given no freedoms for which they fought and were embedded back into their pre-revolt lifestyle with the added bonus of increased security to prevent any further actions. Under the Twelve Articles of the Peasants of Swabia, the counsel clearly relays that if the Lords would have treated the serfs with respect and kindness, then the poor would have no reason to resort to violence. They declare that they refuse to give in to the oppression and wish to be treated properly and with appropriate pay for their labor...
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