Essay: Important periods in human history

The Protestant Reformation, French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution are some of the

most important periods in human history.It is important to realize what the outcome of these

events were.Almost everything we do, buy and see is a direct result of these revolutions.In

this essay, I will discuss the causes and consequences of these three time periods.

The protestant reformation was an interesting time for most of Europe. Reformation was

sweeping across Europe during the 1500s transforming just about everything within society. The

way (and where) people worshipped, politics, social statuses and general cultures were all

affected by the Reformation. There are likely many causes of the protestant reformation, but it

was Martin Luther’s statements and critiques of the doctrines of churches in Germany in a piece

he published called, ‘The Ninety-Five Theses,’ that started the protestant reformation

(Reformation Podcast). Luther argued that the bible could be interpreted differently by different

people and that God’s salvation was a gift to be accepted by his followers, rather than something

attained through Catholic rituals (Backman, 394). This brought about conflict within the church

and escalated to the point where it took on a political and social stage outside of just the Catholic

Church. Luther then published, ‘Address to the Christian Nobility of The German Nation,’

which spoke about his views and the organizational layout of his reformed church. He argued

that the protestant church needed only secular administration and guidance to worship freely, so

he turned his attention to gathering support from the princes (Backman, 397).In his publication,

Luther wrote, ‘A prince who formally broke with Rome and converted to Lutheranism was

entitled, Luther wrote, to confiscate the Catholic ecclesiastical lands, properties, and wealth

within his principality and to lead the administration of the new re-formed churches’ (Backman,

398). However, the princes feared these actions would spur Charles V to run to the Catholics

Church’s aid. Eventually the princes did openly support Luther, and Luther responded by

directing the princes to appoint religious leaders to the new churches (Backman, 400).

The Reformation brought upon several consequences.First, the Reformation spawned

four divisions of Protestantism: Lutheran, Reformed, Anabaptist, and Anglican.An effect of this

was that the Catholic Church was forever fractured. The Reformation also brought about the rise

of Protestantism and many people were divided between Catholicism and the Protestant Church.

Once the Protestant Reformation went international, this had a major impact on world religions.

There are many causes of the French Revolution. One of the major contributors was the

fact that France was imposing harsh taxation on its citizens to help relieve some of the country’s

debt problems (Backman, 596). This action nearly led to riots, and caused the people to begin

losing faith in their government. The French economy was crumbling from earlier events such

as the Seven Years’ War. The different social classes in France at the time were severely

skewed, and people of low economic standing were treated unfairly and even taxed much more.

Another cause was that Louis XVI was considered to be a very ineffective and harsh ruler.

Between the steep taxes imposed on the lower and middle class, his revoking of the Edict of

Nantes and the Glorious Revolution in England in 1688, and him trying to flee his own country;

Louis and the royal family played a major role in events leading to the French Revolution as well

(French Revolution Podcast).

While the French Revolution doesn’t appear to have changed much of anything, there

were many widespread consequences of the French Revolution (Backman, 592). One of the

main results was the abolition of the French monarchy. Another effect of the French Revolution

is that it placed Napoleon in Dictatorial charge of France (Backman, 592). The class system was

also improved. No longer were lower class citizens discriminated against, and people of all

classes saw economic and social status growth.

The Industrial Revolution is arguably the most important movement worldwide. During

the late 1700s, there was a distinct need for more machine-powered technology. Originally, the

Industrial Revolution was seen as a very positive thing, leading to great technological advances,

more job opportunities and advancements in areas such as food production and medicine

(Backman, 627-628). While manufacturing was coming along in Europe, there were still limits

on production. Water powered devices began making their way into manufacturing, eventually

being replaced by steam powered engines. The invention of the steam engine was one of the

biggest causes of the Industrial Revolution. It was also realized that with products being made so

quickly, the distribution of goods was becoming just as important. Roads and waterways were

needed to provide the framework for the Revolution. Without new infrastructure, there would be

no way to move new materials (raw or produced) to factories or new markets. This would

essentially stall the Industrial Revolution in its tracks (Backman, 632).

One of the consequences of the Industrial Revolution was that, for the first time, human

labor no longer defined national economies. Steam engines and large factories allowed for

products to be created and moved at speeds that once could only be imagined (Industrial

Revolution Podcast). The Industrial Revolution led to remarkable advancements in just about

every area of society. Farms produced more food per acre, textiles were being produced very

quickly and transportation was making huge strides (Backman, 632-633). Europe saw huge

population growths due to the Industrial Revolution as well. This was due mostly to medicine

and food production growths. During the Industrial Revolution, people were now able to buy

what was once typically made for themselves. A capitalist market was created, and provided

economic growth for European nations (Backman, 630). There were, however, negative

consequences as well. Laborers worked in increasingly harsh conditions. Wages also declined,

due to the huge increase in the amount of workers available to factories and other employers.

Overall, however, the Industrial Revolution is seen as a good and necessary step for Europe and

the rest of the world. It has led to the society that all of us live in today, and is arguably the most

important revolution of in here…

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