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Shinto has been a major part of Japanese life and culture throughout the country's history, but for the greater part of that history Shinto has shared its spiritual, cultural, and political roles with Buddhism and Confucianism.
Periods of Shinto history
One of the standard classifications of Shinto history reduces it to four major periods:
Historians encounter some problems when trying to understand Shinto history as a discrete narrative.
Henry VIII and Bloody Religious Change – First Steps to the English Civil War
In this article, Myra King follows up on her article about the Divine Right of Kings, by telling us about religious conflict in Henry VIII’s England. As we will see, this conflict would continue to simmer beneath the surface well into the 1600s indeed, it would be a major factor in the English Civil War.
Once upon a time in a land far, far away, a regal king met the woman of his dreams. He instantly knew he had to marry her and make her his Queen. The only problem with this plan… He was already married.
When Henry VIII came across Anne Boleyn, he was already in his fourteenth year of marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Divorce was the only option. Unfortunately the pope refused to grant him one. After nearly seven years of fighting the Vatican, Henry got his Tudor breeches in a twist and decided to break away from the Roman Catholic Church. He established the Church of England, making himself the leader and instated the newly formed denomination, Protestantism. This was no simple decision as Catholicism had been the official religion of England since the Romans had brought it over one thousand years earlier. The people of England had had their faith ripped out from underneath them and they had no way to fight it. Henry’s decision to break with Rome did not end at the peaceful renaming of churches. Henry introduced an act called “The Reformation” and that was far from peaceful. Thomas Cromwell and Henry’s goons ransacked over eight hundred monasteries, literally stripping them of everything from their lead roofs, to their golden candlesticks and valuable books. The lucky monks were thrown into the street. The rest were executed for refusing to comply. The reformation brought in a ton of gold for Henry and a ton of misery for everyone else. Many of those who revolted against this act were murdered. Not only the rebellious men, but their wives and even small children were left swinging from ropes.
A strange fruit left to rot in the fields.
King Henry VIII of England by Lucas Horenbout (c. 1526)
It wasn’t only the peasants who met their untimely deaths in the reformation. Several of Henry’s own politicians were sent for the chop. Not to mention the fact that women were subjected to torture on the rack. An act unheard of before the tyrant Henry and his church.
There was nothing peaceful about this religious change. Many suffered at the newborn hands of the Church of England. This was the start of the religious wars that would plague the country for over a century. The people of England now became the unfortunate pawns in this genocide. And they had no way to fight back.
THE END OF THE KING
In 1547, Henry finally succumbed to whatever ailment had killed him (it is heavily debated), leaving his nine-year-old son, Edward VI, as king. Edward, having been born and bred a Protestant, kept the kingdom as his father had left it. But Edward was a sickly boy and at the tender age of fifteen he was dead and buried. This left his elder sister, Mary I, as queen. Mary’s bloodlust and stupidity is almost stomach turning. Her first act as queen was to undo the reformation and return England to the Vatican. Bad idea. By this point, the Church of England was the only religion the young English knew. They had been schooled by Henry and Edward to read the bible, now Mary burned them for it. They had been taught that prayers were private, and the vanity and abuse of the Catholic Church were not their god’s doing. Mary burned them for questioning the Vatican. Mary’s second mistake was to marry her cousin, Philip of Spain. He was a money and power hungry Catholic who was anything but popular among the English. Mary had been warned by her government that marriage to Philip would be political suicide. But she did not heed their warning. And so, Philip brought his hand in marriage as well as his need to conquer an unconquerable land – France.
England owned one town in France, Calais, a town close to England on the French coast. Philip wanted more. Mary’s government begged her not to go to war with the French. England was in trouble, you see it had done nothing but rain during Mary’s reign. The crops were ruined. There would be no food for the following year. England needed her money in order to buy food from the French. They couldn’t use that money for war. Mary would not listen though. England not only lost the war with France, but also Calais – a town that could have produced food for them.
BACK TO SQUARE ONE
In Mary’s five short years as Queen she undid the horror that her father had done all Henry VIII’s crimes against his people had been for nothing. She burned every Protestant she could find in a land completely Protestant. She married an unpopular fool and sent her army to their deaths to do his bidding. She lost French territory. She did nothing as her country flooded and starved to death. She earned herself the nickname “Bloody Mary” and is known as the most useless monarch England has ever had. All in the name of religion. Once again, the English people were the wretched victims of a monarch’s unholy obsession with their own religious ideas. More than three hundred Protestants were burned at the stake so that she could purge the country of the religion her father had killed nearly fifty-seven thousand people to introduce.
Mary died childless in 1558, leaving her half-sister as queen. Elizabeth quickly changed the country back to Protestantism. And the only people who needed to fear the stake were the corrupt Catholic priests. No one mourned for them no one mourned the loss of Catholicism. Her memory lives on as one of the greatest leaders in English history she has no connection to religious genocide. Her father and sister live in infamy as atrocious monarchs hated by the people. And besides their laughable marriages, all they are known for is the suffering their religious beliefs caused. Could it be a coincidence that one is adored while the other two are abhorred?
Elizabeth died childless in 1603 and left the throne to her cousin’s son, the king of Scotland – James VI of Scotland. England’s first fear was that the Catholic king would bring his dreaded religion to England and that there would be a repeat of Mary’s or Henry’s reign. Luckily James had some smarts and left his religion in Edinburgh castle. He became James I of England and brought with him, not one, but two sons. This officially ended the Tudor dynasty and the fears of succession that Henry’s questionable virility and his childless children brought to the table. James walked a fine line though. He believed in the Divine Right of Kings that meant he answered to no one but his god. He believed it was his right to do and say whatever he wanted. The English soon got a tad sick of this behavior. He must have known the dangerous dance he was partaking in. After two cruel monarchs who hid behind the thin guise of religion to commit their atrocities, religion was now top of the suspicion list. Every pro-Catholic move James made, he put his life on the line. Equally, every anti-Catholic move he made he put himself and his family in danger.
If James wasn’t aware of the danger he was in, the Gunpowder plot definitely showed him.
I don’t think James I ever failed to remember the 5th of November.
The next article in the series is on King James I and a conspiracy related to the Gunpowder Plot. Click here to read it!
The English People at War in the Age of Henry VIII
The James Ford lectures in British History, funded by a bequest from the Revd James Ford, were first given in 1896. The lectures are intended both to advance historical understanding – they are usually published as a book by Oxford University Press – and to engage the interest of the general public. So for the Hilary term 2015 lectures I thought it best to take a fairly large subject and one to which people could relate their own experience. Henry VIII fought many wars, against the French, against the Scots, against the Gaelic lords of Ireland, against rebels in his own realms, even against his traditional allies in the Netherlands. But how much did they really affect his subjects? And what role did Henry’s reign play in the wider transformation of England’s military capabilities over the century from 1475, when his grandfather Edward IV invaded France in the afterglow of the Hundred Years War, to the 1570s, when his daughter Elizabeth sought to shape a trained militia and a powerful navy to defend England in a Europe increasingly polarised by religion?
Henry’s wars have not been neglected by past historians and in studying them I could draw on the work of many distinguished predecessors and contemporaries. The recovery of the Mary Rose has particularly encouraged study of Henry’s navy and the men who crewed his ships. But in general war has been overshadowed in accounts of his reign by the drama of the Reformation and the dazzle of court politics. Henry himself, in his bulbous armour with its 54-inch waistline, makes a rather ludicrous warlord, and his subjects, still shooting longbows in the age of pike and musket, seem to be playing at war. Even their victories, mainly won over the Scots or bewildered peasant rebels, are historical embarrassments. The result is that military historians have concentrated on arguing that Henry’s armies were not quite as incompetent or outmoded as one might think, and other historians have passed his wars by in search of more exciting fare. Yet recent historians of the Reformation have built a remarkably comprehensive and subtle account of the relationship between religious change and many aspects of English social, political and cultural life I wanted to see if the same could be done for Henry’s wars. For the first lecture I looked at how many people took part in war and how far those not directly involved were aware of what was happening. In crisis years like 1513, when Henry invaded France and the Scots attacked the North, it seems that as many as one adult man in ten went on campaign. In 1545, when a French invasion fleet anchored off the coast and the Mary Rose sank in the attempt to repel it, perhaps one in five stood ready to fight. Meanwhile news about war spread widely, cheap printed almanacs and popular prophecies discussed the prospects for war and people prayed for ‘peace in our time’ even before the Prayer Book of 1549 fixed the phrase in the English imagination. Costumes and plot lines in court masques, decorative schemes in country houses, even fashion on the streets of London, where one could be arrested for wearing outrageously large hose like a German mercenary soldier, suggest that the English were well aware of continental military trends.
The Early Elizabethan Fortifications at Berwick
Lecture two used the records of hundreds of parishes and boroughs to see how communities coped with the pressures of war. They struggled to buy and maintain the up-to-date weapons and armour Henry and his successors insisted they should provide for their men, to fortify the coasts and keep up the chains of beacons that warned of invasion. Often they confiscated church resources or introduced local taxation to meet these demands, but they also developed new mechanisms of local government which would later help them cope with the challenges of poverty and plague. More systematic sources than the accounts of individual parishes suggest the wide impact of these measures. The inventories of church goods taken in 1547, for example, show that at least 68 out of 144 Suffolk churches had in the past four years sold crosses, copes, chalices, censers, candlesticks, basins, pyxes and paxes to meet military expenses. County muster returns, which rarely mentioned parish stocks of arms in the 1520s, regularly did so by the 1560s. Unlike the border fortress of Berwick, given a set of modern walls at crown expense in 1558-70, towns mostly had to fortify themselves. At Dover, Great Yarmouth, Harwich and Rye, and no doubt elsewhere, this could be accomplished only by setting the townsfolk to forced labour to build thick earth ramparts as proof against artillery fire.
Next I asked how military service related to the social power and self-image of lords and gentlemen. Contemporaries complained that they were giving up the knightly ways of their forebears, turning to accountancy, law and soft living. Even those who did wish to fight found their tenants were now reluctant to follow them. But the peerage continued to lead the social elite in fighting for the king, half of them in France with Henry in 1544 while nearly a quarter fought the Scots. Many gentlemen still valued their martial honour and found a satisfying place in the new structures of the lord lieutenancy or the increasingly permanent English army in Ireland, where younger sons of peers and knights were classic officer material. Plundered luxuries, commemorative paintings, armoured effigies and martial epitaphs, traditional praise poems comparing the Welsh gentry to Arthur and Lancelot, Charlemagne and Roland, built the reputations of those who served.
For the fourth lecture I examined war and the economy. Heavy taxation and disrupted export trade threatened recession. In 1513 one estate officer explained to his master that it
was ‘this busy world of war’ that made it so hard to collect his rents and sell his timber. Coastal traders and fishing boats were vulnerable to raiders: one poor crew of Whitby sailors in the 1520s managed to be captured both by a French ship and then by a Scottish ship on the same fishing trip. Yet there was another side to the story. Arms traders, iron smelters, horse dealers, fortification builders and English privateers who attacked foreign shipping, often rather indiscriminately, in the Channel and Atlantic, did well. So did the borderers who raided the Scots for their livestock, some with names familiar to followers of North-Eastern football: Robson, Milburn, Charlton.
My fifth lecture asked what weapons people owned and whether they knew how to use them. Some of its evidence was drawn from coroners’ inquests into accidents with bows, guns and swords, some from wills or probate inventories. These show that people kept weapons in the oddest of places, handguns in the parlour, poleaxes in counting houses, helmets in the kitchen cupboard or the cheese chamber. Exhortations to manly valour, reinforced by peer pressure and self-preservation in desperate situations, egged soldiers on to fight, but captains’ handbooks show the difficulties in turning raw recruits into effective troops. On the other hand, there were English mercenaries, not as numerous as the Germans or Swiss, but sufficient to turn up in continental wars of the later 1480s or early 1550s when the English crown was not recruiting. As in most wars before penicillin, more died of disease than from enemy action. In the English army in Picardy in September 1557, for which we have unusually good records, the sick outnumbered the wounded by five to one, and at Le Havre in June 1563 plague was killing about a tenth of the English garrison each week.
In the last week of the series I argued that engagement in war vitally shaped his subjects’ relationship with the king and their sense of national identity. Henry’s England was not turned by his wars into the sort of fiscal-military state identified by historians of seventeenth-century Brandenburg-Prussia or indeed eighteenth-century Britain. But war affected attitudes to the king’s authority, to his care for his subjects, to national religion and national history, especially when orders went out to arrest enemy aliens or to recruit men for armies from many different parts of the realm. Henry’s wars left his successors a paradoxical legacy of admiration for his victories, his ships and his fortifications but allergy to his taxes and his large-scale recruitment.
Those who give a series of lectures like the Fords face a dilemma. Should they fill out their arguments at greater length, research aspects of the topic they have ignored, and produce a longer book at some subsequent point? Or should they tidy up their lectures, frame them a little, and publish sooner rather than later, in the hope at least of sparking debate by their omissions, simplifications and speculations? To my relief – as I have just finished, after thirty years’ work, a book on another topic, Henry VII’s New Men and the Making of Tudor England – I have been encouraged by OUP to take the shorter and faster route. The lectures were the first to be podcast, so those in need of a remedy for insomnia can already listen to them through the faculty website. But they should, I hope, appear as a book in 2017.
Angkor Wat Today
Unfortunately, although Angkor Wat remained in use until fairly recently—into the 1800s—the site has sustained significant damage, from forest overgrowth to earthquakes to war.
The French, who ruled what is now known as Cambodia for much of the 20th century, established a commission to restore the site for tourism purposes in the early 1900s. This group also oversaw ongoing archeological projects there.
While restoration work was accomplished in bits and pieces under French rule, major efforts didn’t begin in earnest until the 1960s. By then, Cambodia was a country transitioning from colonial rule to a limited form of constitutional monarchy.
When Cambodia fell into a brutal civil war in the 1970s, Angkor Wat, somewhat miraculously, sustained relatively minimal damage. The autocratic and barbarous Khmer Rouge regime did battle troops from neighboring Vietnam in the area near the ancient city, and there are bullet holes marking its outer walls as a result.
Since then, with the Cambodian government undergoing numerous changes, the international community, including representatives of India, Germany and France, among others, have contributed to the ongoing restoration efforts.
The site remains an important source of national pride for Cambodians.
In 1992, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Although visitors to Angkor Wat numbered in just the few thousands at the time, the landmark now welcomes some 500,000 visitors each year—many of whom arrive early in the morning to capture images of the sunrise over what still is a very magical, spiritual place.
Nature and significance
In the polytheistic religions of Arabia most of the gods were originally associated with heavenly bodies, to which were ascribed powers of fecundity, protection, or revenge against enemies. Aside from a few deities common to various populations, the pantheons show a marked local particularism. But many religious practices were in general use. The study of these practices is instructive in view of their similarities with those of the biblical world and also with those of the world of Islam, for, while firmly repudiating the idolatry of the pre-Islamic period, which it calls the “Age of Ignorance” ( Jāhiliyyah), Islam has nevertheless taken over, in a refined form, some of its practices.
The situation today
Fighting in Syria continues on several fronts:
Idlib: In February 2018, shelling by Russian and Syrian forces have intensified on Idlib, especially since fighters from the Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham group shot down a Russian warplane.
In April, Russia brokered a deal to evacuate opposition fighters from Eastern Ghouta in the south to Idlib in the north, Idlib being one of the few strongholds controlled by opposition fighters.
The province is strategically important for the Syrian government and Russia for its proximity to the Russian-operated Syrian Khmeimim airbase.
Homs: In April, an airbase and other Syrian government facilities in Homs became again the target of Israeli and US-led air strikes in which UK and French forces also participated.
The Syrian army recaptured the city of Homs in 2014, but fighting continues with rebels in the suburbs between Homs and Hama.
Afrin: Turkey and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) began in January 2018 a military operation against US-backed fighters in northwestern Syria, and announced the capture of Afrin’s city centre in March.
A Golden Age
Stability in Muslim Spain came with the establishment of the Andalusian Umayyad dynasty, which lasted from 756 to 1031.
The credit goes to Amir Abd al-Rahman, who founded the Emirate of Cordoba, and was able to get the various different Muslim groups who had conquered Spain to pull together in ruling it.
The Golden Age
The Muslim period in Spain is often described as a 'golden age' of learning where libraries, colleges, public baths were established and literature, poetry and architecture flourished. Both Muslims and non-Muslims made major contributions to this flowering of culture.
A Golden Age of religious tolerance?
Islamic Spain is sometimes described as a 'golden age' of religious and ethnic tolerance and interfaith harmony between Muslims, Christians and Jews.
Some historians believe this idea of a golden age is false and might lead modern readers to believe, wrongly, that Muslim Spain was tolerant by the standards of 21st century Britain.
The true position is more complicated. The distinguished historian Bernard Lewis wrote that the status of non-Muslims in Islamic Spain was a sort of second-class citizenship but he went on to say:
Second-class citizenship, though second class, is a kind of citizenship. It involves some rights, though not all, and is surely better than no rights at all.
. A recognized status, albeit one of inferiority to the dominant group, which is established by law, recognized by tradition, and confirmed by popular assent, is not to be despised.
Bernard Lewis, The Jews of Islam, 1984
Life for non-Muslims in Islamic Spain
Jews and Christians did retain some freedom under Muslim rule, providing they obeyed certain rules. Although these rules would now be considered completely unacceptable, they were not much of a burden by the standards of the time, and in many ways the non-Muslims of Islamic Spain (at least before 1050) were treated better than conquered peoples might have expected during that period of history.
- they were not forced to live in ghettoes or other special locations
- they were not slaves
- they were not prevented from following their faith
- they were not forced to convert or die under Muslim rule
- they were not banned from any particular ways of earning a living they often took on jobs shunned by Muslims
- these included unpleasant work such as tanning and butchery
- but also pleasant jobs such as banking and dealing in gold and silver
The alternative view to the Golden Age of Tolerance is that Jews and Christians were severely restricted in Muslim Spain, by being forced to live in a state of 'dhimmitude'. (A dhimmi is a non-Muslim living in an Islamic state who is not a slave, but does not have the same rights as a Muslim living in the same state.)
In Islamic Spain, Jews and Christians were tolerated if they:
- acknowledged Islamic superiority
- accepted Islamic power
- paid a tax called Jizya to the Muslim rulers and sometimes paid higher rates of other taxes
- avoided blasphemy
- did not try to convert Muslims
- complied with the rules laid down by the authorities. These included:
- restrictions on clothing and the need to wear a special badge
- restrictions on building synagogues and churches
- not allowed to carry weapons
- could not receive an inheritance from a Muslim
- could not bequeath anything to a Muslim
- could not own a Muslim slave
- a dhimmi man could not marry a Muslim woman (but the reverse was acceptable)
- a dhimmi could not give evidence in an Islamic court
- dhimmis would get lower compensation than Muslims for the same injury
At times there were restrictions on practicing one's faith too obviously. Bell-ringing or chanting too loudly were frowned on and public processions were restricted.
Many Christians in Spain assimilated parts of the Muslim culture. Some learned Arabic, some adopted the same clothes as their rulers (some Christian women even started wearing the veil) some took Arabic names. Christians who did this were known as Mozarabs.
The Muslim rulers didn't give their non-Muslim subjects equal status as Bat Ye'or has stated, the non-Muslims came definitely at the bottom of society.
Society was sharply divided along ethnic and religious lines, with the Arab tribes at the top of the hierarchy, followed by the Berbers who were never recognized as equals, despite their Islamization lower in the scale came the mullawadun converts and, at the very bottom, the dhimmi Christians and Jews.
Bat Ye'or, Islam and Dhimmitude, 2002
The Muslims did not explicitly hate or persecute the non-Muslims. As Bernard Lewis puts it:
in contrast to Christian anti-Semitism, the Muslim attitude toward non-Muslims is one not of hate or fear or envy but simply of contempt
Bernard Lewis, The Jews of Islam, 1984
An example of this contempt is found in this 12th century ruling:
A Muslim must not massage a Jew or a Christian nor throw away his refuse nor clean his latrines. The Jew and the Christian are better fitted for such trades, since they are the trades of those who are vile.
12th Century ruling
Why were non-Muslims tolerated in Islamic Spain?
There were several reasons why the Muslim rulers tolerated rival faiths:
- Judaism and Christianity were monotheistic faiths, so arguably their members were worshipping the same God
- despite having some wayward beliefs and practices, such as the failure to accept the significance of Muhammad and the Qur'an
- so mass conversion or mass execution was not practical
- outlawing or controlling the beliefs of so many people would have been massively expensive
- who were loyal (because not attached to any of the various Muslim groups)
- who could be easily disciplined or removed if the need arose. (One Emir went so far as to have a Christian as the head of his bodyguard.)
Oppression in later Islamic Spain
Not all the Muslim rulers of Spain were tolerant. Almanzor looted churches and imposed strict restrictions.
The position of non-Muslims in Spain deteriorated substantially from the middle of the 11th century as the rulers became more strict and Islam came under greater pressure from outside.
Christians were not allowed taller houses than Muslims, could not employ Muslim servants, and had to give way to Muslims on the street.
Christians could not display any sign of their faith outside, not even carrying a Bible. There were persecutions and executions.
One notorious event was a pogrom in Granada in 1066, and this was followed by further violence and discrimination as the Islamic empire itself came under pressure.
As the Islamic empire declined, and more territory was taken back by Christian rulers, Muslims in Christian areas found themselves facing similar restrictions to those they had formerly imposed on others.
But, on the whole, the lot of minority faith groups was to become worse after Islam was replaced in Spain by Christianity.
The Court of the Lions, Alhambra, Spain ©
There were also cultural alliances, particularly in the architecture - the 12 lions in the court of Alhambra are heralds of Christian influences.
The mosque at Cordoba, now converted to a cathedral is still, somewhat ironically, known as La Mezquita or literally, the mosque.
The mosque was begun at the end of the 8th century by the Ummayyad prince Abd al Rahman ibn Muawiyah.
Under the reign of Abd al Rahman III (r. 912-961) Spanish Islam reached its greatest power as, every May, campaigns were launched towards the Christian frontier, this was also the cultural peak of Islamic civilisation in Spain.
Eighth War of Religion - History
New England’s Freehold Society
¡ Farm Families: Women in the Household Economy
§ Women were subordinate to men expected to be silent around company
§ Often did work around the house
§ Often had 6-7 children by their 40s
¡ Farm Property: Inheritance
§ Many New England immigrants sought to own land
§ Children of wealthy families received land when they married
§ Once married, the wife lost all property rights to her husband
¡ Freehold Society in Crisis:
§ As population grew, less land was available for children
§ Eventually, New England focused on livestock
Diversity in the Middle Colonies
¡ Economic Growth, Opportunity, and Conflict:
▪ Tenant farmers had a hard time gaining land and wealth
§ Conflict in the Quaker Colonies:
▪ William Penn encouraged Quakers and Protestants to move to Pennsylvania
▪ Many immigrants became squatters – illegally settling on land
▪ Eventually, the Penn family claimed Indian land near Philadelphia
▪ Many earned a living as farmers and storekeepers
§ Many immigrants married within their own ethnic groups
▪ Germans left Germany due to conscription, religious freedom, and taxes
▪ Irish Test Act of 1704 – only members of Church of England could vote in Ireland
▪ Many migrated to Philadelphia as they were lured by religious freedom
§ By the 1740s, Quakers were a minority in Pennsylvania
§ Scots-Irish were hostile towards Indians
Commerce, Culture, and Identity
¡ 2 major cultural movements impacted Colonial America – Enlightenment and Pietism
¡ Transportation and the Print Revolution:
§ Roads developed slowly – costly and difficult to build
§ Information increased as transportation increased
§ Colonial newspapers developed with news from Europe
¡ The Enlightenment in America:
§ The European Enlightenment:
▪ Stressed human reasoning and natural rights
▪ John Locke – Two Treatises of Government – consent of the governed
▪ Founder of the Pennsylvania Gazette
▪ Franklin was a Deist (as was Jefferson and others) – believed in God, but that God did not interfere in the world
▪ God created the world and “stepped back”
¡ American Pietism and the Great Awakening: religious revival heavily based on emotion
▪ Johnathan Edwards – Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
▪ Drew inspiration from religious movements in Europe
§ Whitefield’s Great Awakening:
▪ George Whitefield – great orator
▪ Traveled throughout the colonies
▪ Those that converted were considered “New Lights”
¡ Religious Upheaval in the North:
§ “New Lights”: those that embraced the Great Awakening and converted
§ “Old Lights”: older preachers against conversions and emotionalism of The Great Awakening
¡ Significance of The Great Awakening?
§ Undermined traditional authority – new churches developed
§ “New Light” colleges developed – Princeton, Columbia, Rutgers
§ Challenge to authority would later influence the American Revolution
¡ Social and Religious Conflict in the South:
§ Many African Americans and poor whites were left out by Anglican ministers
▪ Many converted in Virginia and other areas
▪ Diversity in religion challenged tax supported Anglican-Church
▪ Focused on adult baptism – “born again”
▪ Baptism appealed to African Americans belief that all people were equal
¡ House of Burgesses made it illegal to preach to slaves without their owners permission
The Midcentury Challenge: War, Trade, and Social Conflict, 1750 – 1763
¡ The French and Indian War:
§ Conflict in the Ohio Valley:
▪ French built forts in the Ohio Valley – PA and OH
▪ George Washington essentially started the war in PA
▪ Purpose was to keep Iroquois on the side of the British
▪ Franklin proposed the Albany Plan of Union – “Join or Die”
▪ This passed at the conference, but rejected by colonial legislatures and the British
▪ War Hawks – those that favor war – seen in War of 1812 and Vietnam
▪ Britain declared war on France, became a world war
▪ Colonists could only be promoted so far based solely on being colonists
§ After 9 years of fighting, Britain wins the French and Indian (7 Years’ War)
§ France is essentially removed from North America – Indians lost a valuable trading partner
§ Pontiac’s Rebellion (1763): Indian rebellion against colonists encroaching on their land, led to the British issuing The Proclamation Line of 1763
¡ British Industrial Growth and the Consumer Revolution:
§ Britain experienced a consumer revolution that led to increased debt for colonists
¡ The Struggle for Land in the East:
§ More and more colonial farmers sought land near the Appalachian Mountains (would be an issue in 1763)
¡ Western Rebels and Regulators:
§ Paxton Boys – Scots-Irish in PA that massacred Indians
§ The South Carolina Regulators:
▪ Regulators demanded more fair treatment of colonists living in the western portion of SC: better taxes, more representation, etc.
Hitler’s religion: Pantheism and brutal power politics
In the end, while recognizing that Hitler’s religion was somewhat muddled, it seems evident his religion was closest to pantheism. He often deified nature, calling it eternal and all-powerful at various times throughout his career. He frequently used the word “nature” interchangeably with God, Providence, or the Almighty. While on some occasions he claimed God had created people or organisms, at other times (or sometimes in the same breath) he claimed nature had created them. Further, he wanted to cultivate a certain veneration of nature through a reinvented Christmas festival that turned the focus away from Christianity. He also hoped to build an observatory-planetarium complex in Linz that would serve as a religious pilgrimage site to dazzle Germans with the wonders of the cosmos. Overall, it appears a pantheist worldview was where Hitler felt closest to home.
Since it is so difficult to pinpoint exactly what Hitler’s religion was, it might seem his religion was historically inconsequential. However, hopefully this study of Hitler’s religion sheds light on a number of important issues. First, his anti-Christianity obviously shaped the persecution of the Christian churches during the Third Reich. Second, his religious hypocrisy helped explain his ability to appeal to a broad constituency. Third, his trust that his God would reward his efforts and willpower, together with his sense of divine mission, imbued him with hope, even in hopeless circumstances. This helps us understand why he was so optimistic until the very end, when it should have been obvious much earlier that the game was up.
Finally, and most importantly, his religion did not provide him any transcendent morality. Whatever Hitler’s stance on other religious issues, his morality was entirely of this world, derived from his understanding of the workings of nature. This was the most pernicious element of his religion. Hitler followed what he considered the dictates of nature by stealing, killing, and destroying. Ultimately, however, he perished, because his God could not give him life.
This article is part of our larger selection of posts about Adolph Hitler. To learn more, click here for our comprehensive guide to the life of Adolph Hitler.
You can also buy the book by clicking on the buttons to the left.
Watch the video: Ποιοί ήταν οι Αργυράσπιδες; Ελληνικοί. Αγγλικοί υπότιτλοι - Αρχαία Ελληνική Ιστορία. Alpha Ωmega (July 2022).