Writing Assignment (L25)

What kinds of ideas were the “Eutopians” promoting? Why is it perhaps not a coincidence that this desire to rethink the organization of society emerged in the sixteenth century in particular?

The Eutopians were promoting many things; some contradictory to others, but their blanket foundation was totalitarian government. Built on top of this foundation, were the beliefs that artificial hierarchy should give way to equality (no private property), money & honors must be earned (everyone must work, no exceptions), and more specifically that everyone will always have everything that they need; excess is given to others. In this society it was expressed that people should choose their own rulers, and it was evidently clear that change was possible in many aspects. It is anything but a coincidence that “this desire to rethink the organization of society” (in respect to all aspects, including government & the ways of people themselves) emerged in the sixteenth century. This was a time of great shifts in power as well as religious beliefs. New and different variations of already existing religions were flourishing. New leaders were coming about, bringing with them new regulations that sometimes were completely opposite what the previous ruler had enforced. This was in fact, a great time of change. It was also a great time of conflict, and (some) resolution as well.

What was the key issue that led to the outbreak of the Thirty Years’ War? What religious accommodation was reached by Catholics and Protestants in the Peace of Westphalia?

Ferdinand II, (to become Holy Roman Emperor) sparks the main issue that led to the outbreak of the Thirty Years’ War when he began revoking certain protestant privileges. More specifically, when a Protestant church in Prague was destroyed. The ending of the war finally came with a series of treaties in 1648, called the Peace of Westphalia. This is a Protestant victory; the Edict of Restitution is going to have to be overturned, and Protestants will be able to live freely again. This also establishes freedom of public worship (at certain times) and widely spread religious toleration.

Who were the Levellers, and what did they believe?

The Levellers are the first known Libertarian political movement; they emerged during the 17th century, and some of the key figures from this movement are Richard Overton, John Lilburn, and William Walwyn. Levellers believed in choosing their own rulers, but beyond this they believed in maintaining their freedoms. Among these freedoms were property rights, freedom of contract, free market (free trade), religious toleration, and finally, natural law.

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