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The Peace of Augsburg
Charles V making peace with the German Protestant princes at Augsburg, 1530
By the early 1550s, it was apparent that a negotiated settlement was
necessary. In 1555 the Peace of Augsburg was signed. The settlement, which
represented a victory for the princes, granted recognition to both Lutheranism
and Roman Catholicism in Germany, and each ruler gained the right to decide
the religion to be practiced within his state. Subjects not of this faith
could move to another state with their property, and disputes between
the religions were to be settled in court.
The Protestant Reformation strengthened the long-standing trend toward
particularism in Germany. German leaders, whether Protestant or Catholic,
became yet more powerful at the expense of the central governing institution,
the empire. Protestant leaders gained by receiving lands that formerly
belonged to the Roman Catholic Church, although not to as great an extent
as, for example, would occur in England. Each prince also became the head
of the established church within his territory. Catholic leaders benefited
because the Roman Catholic Church, in order to help them withstand Protestantism,
gave them greater access to church resources within their territories.
Germany was also less united than before because Germans were no longer
of one faith, a situation officially recognized by the Peace of Augsburg.
The agreement did not bring sectarian peace, however, because the religious
question in Germany had not yet been settled fully.
- Martin Luther
- Protestant Reformation
- Resistance to Lutheranism
- The Peace of Augsburg