The Peasants" War (in German, der Deutsche Bauernkrieg, accurate the "German Peasants" War") to be a renowned revolt in southern, western and main areas of contemporary Germany and also areas in surrounding Switzerland and also Austria between 1524-1525. In ~ its height in the spring and summer that 1525, it connected an approximated 300,000 peasant insurgents and also resulted in an approximated 100,000 deaths. Return sparked by the protestant Reformation, the was encouraged largely by social discontent as the result of increasing financial inequality in ~ a time as soon as the feudal device was comes unraveled.

You are watching: The german peasants revolt in 1524 cause and effect

The protestant reformation, which started with boy name Luther in 1517, taught the all people are valued by God and also can accessibility God directly without the need of priestly mediation. Part Protestants said from this the the church should be governed by the people, no by a clerical elite. Others interpreted the teaching into the politics realm and also argued that all people, regardless of society rank, need to participate in governance. These views, excessive for their time, to be emphatically not the watch of martin Luther, that upheld the strength of the princes. He believed that culture needed to it is in policed in order to prevent chaos and also moral laxity.

The reformer that led a significant part the the revolt was cutting board Müntzer, leader the the Anabaptists. He want to develop a Utopian culture ruled by God together a stepping-stone for the development of God"s kingdom. He considered distinctions between the spiritual and temporal realms to be false. Taking his concepts to their extreme, that resorted come physical pressure opposing all constituted authorities while the attempted to establish by pressure his right Christian republic that was to uphold absolute equality and the ar of goods.

The fail of the peasant"s revolt, and of Muntzer"s violent however unsuccessful search of his presumed right Christian republic in particular, reaffirmed and strengthened the alliance between religion and also the state. This would certainly be necessary for the survive of the good news Reformation, which required defenders amongst the princes the Germany to withstand the roman Catholic attack in the Thirty Years" War. The alliance of church and state would proceed in Europe come the present day. It would certainly be an additional century before the English improvement would develop the concept that subjects and also citizens should have the right to practice their religious beliefs without state interference.

Marxists, interested in the aspect of course struggle, check out Thomas Müntzer as a hero that the proletariat whose principles eventually saw fruition in the Marxist state that what was formerly eastern Germany.<1>


Thomas Müntzer, in an eighteenth century sculpture by C. Valve Sichem. No modern image of the reformer exists.

Causes the the war

The war was in part an expression the the religious upheaval known as the Reformation, during which critics of the roman inn Catholic Church tested the prevailing religious and political order. A variety of historians have cited the "Economic Anticlericalism" innate in the beginnings of the Peasants" battle of 1524-1525. However, the war additionally reflected deep-seated society discontent. To recognize the causes of the Peasants" battle it is vital to study the an altering structure the the 7 social classes in Germany and also their relationship to one another. These classes to be the princes, the lesser nobles, the prelates, the patricians, the burghers, the plebeians, and also the peasants.

Social class in 16 century divine Roman Empire

The princes

The princes served as the key centralizers of your territory. They were practically autocratic in your reign and also recognized barely any kind of authority that the mansions attempted to assert. Princes had actually the best to raise taxes and borrow money as they required it. The growing costs of management and army upkeep forced the princes come continually progressive the price of life for your subjects. The lesser nobility and also the clergy paid no taxes and were regularly in assistance of the prince. Countless towns had privileges that protected them indigenous taxes, so the mass of the burden fell on the peasants. Princes regularly attempted to pressure freer peasants into serfdom through enhancing taxes and also by introducing Roman civil law, which was much more conducive to those seeking to consolidate power due to the fact that it reduced all lands to their exclusive ownership and wiped out the feudal ide of the land as a trust between the lord and also the peasant including rights and obligations. In keeping the remnants the the ancient law, which provided the princes their pressure of legitimacy, they heightened not just their wealth and also position in ~ the empire (through the confiscation of all property and also revenues) but also their preeminence over the peasant subjects. Under this ancient law, the peasants might do little much more than passively resist. Also then, the prince had actually absolute manage over every his serfs and their possessions. Till Thomas Müntzer and other radicals favor him would refuse the legitimizing components of ancient law and employ "Godly Law" as a way to rouse the people, uprisings would remain isolated, unsupported, and also easily put down.

Lesser nobility

The progress of so late medieval market was enough to render the lesser nobility of knights obsolete. The development of armed forces science and also the growing importance of gunpowder and also infantry decreased the lesser knights" duty as heavy mounties and additionally reduced the strategic prestige of your castles. The knights" luxurious way of living drained what tiny income they had actually as prices continued to rise. They exercised their old rights in order come wring what earnings they can from your territories. The knights became embittered, because of being increasingly impoverished and also increasingly placed under the jurisdiction the the princes. Hence the 2 classes to be in consistent conflict. The knights also regarded the clergy as an arrogant and also superfluous estate and also envied the privileges and also masses of wide range secured by church statutes. In addition, the knights, regularly in debt to the town, to be incessantly quarreling through the town patricians.

The clergy

The clergy, or prelate class, was to lose its location as the pundit authority over all matters in ~ the state. The development of printing and also extended commerce and the spread out of renaissance humanism raised literacy rates throughout the Empire. Thus the Catholic Church"s syndicate on higher education was additionally reduced. The passage of time had actually seen regional Catholic institutions slip right into corruption. Clerical ignorance and the abuses that simony and also pluralism (holding several offices at once) to be rampant. Part bishops, archbishops, abbots (heads the monasteries, or Abbeys) and also priors (who head friaries) exploited their subjects as ruthlessly as the regional princes did. In addition to the revenue of indulgences, they collection up prayer houses and directly taxation the people. Increased indignation over Church corruption would eventually lead the roman Catholic priest Martin Luther to post his 95 Theses ~ above the doors the the lock Church in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517 and also to impel various other reformers to radically rethink Church doctrine and also organization.

See more: How Do You Say Thankful In Spanish (Plus Phrases For You'Re Welcome)


As guilds grew and also urban populations rose, the town patricians were confronted with raising opposition. The patricians to be wealthy family members who sat alone in the town councils and held all governmental offices. Comparable to the power of the princes, they could gain earnings from their peasants in any way possible. Arbitrarily road, bridge, and gate tolls can be instituted at will. They gradually revoked the usual lands and also made the illegal for a farmer to fish or to log in in what was once land hosted by all. Guild taxes to be exacted. Every revenues accumulated were no formally administered and accounts in town books were neglected. Hence embezzlement and fraud were frequently practiced and also the patrician class, tied by family members ties, came to be continually richer and also ever more exploitative.


The town patricians ended up being progressively more criticized by the farming burgher class. The burgher class was comprised of well-to-do middle class citizens who frequently held governmental positions in guilds or functioned as vendors themselves. Come the burghers, their growing wealth was reason sufficient for their case to the right of control over city administration. They openly request a city assembly made of patricians and burghers or at least a restriction of simony with several seats going come burghers. The burghers likewise opposed the clergy, that they felt had overstepped its bounds and also failed to uphold its religious duties. They demanded an finish to the clergy’s one-of-a-kind privileges such as flexibility from taxation and also a reduction in your number. The burghers transformed the guilds native a system of artisan and also journeyman apprentice to that of capitalist management and also proletariat. The burgher “master artisan” owned his workshop and its tools. He permitted the apprentice usage of the shop and tools and providing the materials needed in stimulate to finish the product in exchange because that pay according to a synthesis of the size of labor and quality and quantity that the product. Journeymen no longer had actually the chance to increase in the guild ranks and also were therefore held in a place deprived of civic rights.