chapter  5
27 Pages

THE REFORMATION CRISIS

The origins of a Protestant state

Religious beliefs were a central aspect of people's lives in early modern times. Specifically, princes were concerned with the enforcement of obedience to authority, since theories of political obligation were overwhelmingly religious in the Renaissance period. Religion quickly became a central issue in terms of state formation and, more gradually, of national identity. Before the Reformation, a working compromise had been reached in terms of church-state relations. In the first phase of the Tudor Reformation, to the accession of Queen Elizabeth, the emphasis was firmly fixed on change at the centre, the statutory enactment of religious change. This phase of state-sponsored reform reflected overwhelmingly the power of the Tudor state but it also saw a vast extension of this power over the lives of ordinary subjects. The gradual introduction of a Protestant religious settlement under Edward VI cast a very different light on the reform movement.