The Protestant Reformation and National Identity Research Paper by Mark Lewis

The Protestant Reformation and National Identity
A discussion on whether the Protestant Reformation encouraged the development of nation states and national identities.
# 147213 | 2,369 words | 18 sources | MLA | 2009 | GB
Published on Mar 02, 2011 in History (Religion) , History (European - 17th Century)

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This paper examines how few periods in European history have resulted in more radical transformations as the one begun by the Protestant Reformation and how when the protracted wars brought about by the Reformation ended in 1648 with the Treaty of Westphalia, the entire landscape of Europe had been altered beyond recognition. In particular, it assesses the impact the Reformation had on the development of national identity and nation states with a focus on the impact of the Reformation on national formation in Germany, England and France. The paper concludes that the impact of the Reformation differed considerably throughout Europe on the basis of innately internal factors.

From the Paper:

"Although the reformation acted as a unifying force in England, such was not the case in France. Although France had a much more obvious territorial foundation than Germany, the central structure of the state remained very fragmented. Moreover, the only forces which served to unite this fragmented collection of regions were the monarchy and religion. As such, Robert Scribner asserts that beyond the two forces suggested, "It [France] had no unity of language, national identity, legal customs or history". In addition, the traditional Catholic Church exerted considerable influence, not only over the monarchy but also the wider population. As such, any attempt on the part of the state to accept Protestantism would be concertedly opposed. Furthermore, like Germany, although parts of France became sympathetic to the Protestant outlook, other areas remained virtually untouched. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Alter, Peter. Nationalism. London: Edward Arnold, 1994.
  • Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London: Verso, 1991.
  • Claydon, Tony and McBride, Ian. Protestantism and National Identity: Britain and Ireland, c.1650-c.1850. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
  • Elton, Geoffrey. The Tudor Revolution in Government: Administrative Changes in the Reign of Henry VIII. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1953.
  • Elton, Geoffrey (1977) Reform and Reformation: England 1509-1588 London: Arnold.

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

The Protestant Reformation and National Identity (2011, March 02) Retrieved June 18, 2019, from

MLA Format

"The Protestant Reformation and National Identity" 02 March 2011. Web. 18 June. 2019. <>