How Important Was The Support Of Frederick The Wise To The Survival Of Lutheranism In The Period To 1521 Essay

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How important was the support of Frederick the wise to the survival of Lutheranism in the period to 1521?
In the period up to 1521, the movement we now know as Lutheranism faced a lot of criticism, to the extent that it put its leader Martin Luther in danger because of his revolutionary views. How he and his views survived through this period, is a very important aspect to consider. There’s no doubt that the support of Frederick the wise contributed to this massively. However we must not forget that his widespread support from the German public and the German Nobility (not just Frederick); Social, Economic and Political Conditions were the reasons behind this support.
There had also been heavy taxes from the Papacy, especially in Germany. This was much to the disliking of the Princes and ruling class. This was associated with an increase in German nationalism. In addition to this, the feeling of anticlericalism came with this; people thought it was unfair that the clergy were exempt from taxes and had more legal and social privileges than normal citizens. Even before Luther started challenging the Catholic Church, Humanism and humanist scholars were already well established within Germany and their ideas were popular. All of these factors set up the foundations of Luther’s success and all contributed to the survival of Lutheranism. If there was no feeling of anti-clericalism already at the time it would have taken much longer for Lutheranism to become successful and it may have died out in its earlier stages.
On the other hand Fredericks support was also clear from early on, he employed Luther as a lecturer at the University of Wittenberg in 1511 (which was a university he had founded in 1502). Later in 1518 when Luther was being threatened by Cardinal Cajetan is when Frederick first offered to protect him, as Luther had refused to withdraw his views. Again in 1520 even as Luther’s views became more radical Frederick showed his support of Luther. Luther had been excommunicated and as part of the Bull from the papacy Frederick was ordered to burn all of Luther’s writings within Saxony and Frederick refused. This was very important as if they had been burned, Luther would have not gained much of the support he had done. After this it was Frederick himself who persuaded Charles V to allow Luther to defend himself at the Diet of Worms in 1521. The Diet of Worms was massively important to the survival of Lutheranism, as it allowed Luther to fully defend his position which gained him massive popularity in Germany. As a result of the Diet of Worms at the Edict of Worms, Luther was outlawed by Charles V and before this was announced Frederick kidnapped Luther and surely…