peasant revolt dbq Essay

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Patrick Xavier

Peasant Revolt DBQ

Between 1524 and 1526, Europe experienced one of the the greatest peasant revolts of all time. These relentless revolts took place in the Holy Roman Empire, more specifically the Germanic States. The conflict began with a petition made to the Holy
Roman Emperor on behalf of some German peasants in 1524. The petition was called the Twelve Articles which was designed to relieve some of the oppressions that the
German peasants were facing. The peasant revolts in the Germanic states were bound to happen sooner or later, and their causes and responses had direct religious, economic, and social ties.
The religious tension of the time was a great aid in sparking the revolts. The peasants saw that the all powerful church was being turned on by those in the reformation and saw an opportunity to contest the nobles with their new and reformed faith in God. Document 1 explains this from Leonhard von Eck’s view, who strongly opposes the reformation. Document 3’s view from the peasants side, again, supports that they are religiously motivated in their revolts by God. Thomas Muntzer, a preacher and theologian, was a reformist who was a pro­rebel leader in the revolts (doc 6) but
Martin Luther, father of the reformation did not approve of the violence (doc 7). Luther responded to Muntzer’s “devilish” acts by saying that serfs are improperly using the gospel to support their violence and that they must learn their place. This shows theses two leaders polar opposite responses to the revolts. These inevitable revolts may have been sparked by religious tensions but situation also had economic roots.

It is understood that the serfs were very poor, and centuries of an imbalanced economic system pushed them over the edge. Sebastian Lotzer stated in the Twelve
that they demand fair treatment and reasonable compensation for their work
(doc 2). The serfs did not wanted to be treated like slaves, and a perfect reimbursement would be more money in their pockets. The lords reply in document 4 stating that if they want their freedom they will have to pay the already rich lords. Without a doubt this remark set off many revolts. The lords asking for money from their indigent workers made no sense at all to the peasants so their only choice was to kill and overthrow their stuck­up lords.
Another topic of interest that