AP European History
October 14, 2013
The leaders and intellectuals during the 16th century had many different views about their arguments and practices regarding religious toleration. Some leaders only supported religious toleration for means of political power, other leaders used religious toleration as means to peace and unity, other rulers were reluctant to support religious toleration and remained cautious out of their own religious beliefs, and some accepted persecution in their practices.
Some leaders in Europe, mainly Catholic, were fearful of the imminent disruption of the unity of their states, and they mocked the idea of religious toleration. In Maria Theresa's letter to her son Joseph, the heir of the Holy Roman Empire, illustrates the belief of some rulers that "Toleration and indifference are precisely the true means of undermining everything" (Doc 12). Maria who was a leader of a diverse empire, tried to maintain the solidarity of her land by any costs.
Paul Hay du Chastelet, a French Catholic aristocrat and political writer, said "For diversity of belief, cult and ceremony divides his subjects and causes them to hate and despise one another, which in turn gives rise to conflicts, war, and general catastrophe" (Doc 7). Paul Hay du Chastelet shows the feeling of bitterness, as a Catholic, of the leaders towards religious toleration. To Paul Hay du Chastelet and other leaders the whole idea of religious toleration would only cause a breakdown of the unity of their states.
In contrast to that, other European rulers showed a strong push for religious toleration, in the hope that the idea would bring peace and stability to their lands. A French Protestant, theologian Sebastian Castelli, discovered that a lack of toleration would only bring the liquidation "by Christians themselves with fire, water, and the sword without mercy" (Doc...