Analyze the causes of and the responses to the peasants' revolts in the German states, 1524-1526.

Essay by PlayRoy69High School, 11th gradeA, November 2008

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Thesis: God's will and royal oppression is what drove the peasants to rebel in the German states; with their numbers, the Holy Roman Empire's authority was weakened, economy affected, and most of all society suffered chaos; the poor mans' revolts proved to be effective against the weak government responses.

The leaders of government were lead to believe that the peasants acted upon the will of God. (Document 1 Leonhard von Eck) The peasants themselves claimed that their reasons were behind God. They would serve the authority of God, but obviously they did not believe the upper class was acting very "holy" to them. They would listen as long as the lords would promise them release from serfdom as God would want them to. (Document 3 Peasant Parliament of Swabia to the Memmingmen Town Council) Christianity was truly a strong influence on the peasants. A preacher would tell them that if they did not rebel against the lords, they were going against God's will.

(Document 6 Thomas Muntzer)Religion was only an excuse to rebel. The real cause of the revolts was the royal oppression the peasants suffered. They were doing more work than they were being compensated for. Lords were breaking the agreement by forcing more services upon the peasants without compensation. (Document 2 Sebastian Lotzer) The peasants believed that the rich should share their wealth with the poor. (Document 8 Lorenz Fries) Prosperous men did not agree because they believed it would result in a troublesome outcome. Moreover, even the government admitted to the unfair treatment of the peasants. "The authorities have torn out the hair of their subjects", instead of helping them and protecting them. (Document 9 Caspar Nutzel)The empire saw their society be disrupted, their economy dwindling, and their authority disrespected. They chose to respond in...