England in the 17th Century, just like the rest of Europe was in a time of transition. The country was shifting from the age of religion to the age of reason. As a result many conflicts and struggles occurred in various areas of society, more particularly in politics and the church. As religion played a major role in the way the English lived day-to-day, it was the one area that caused so much conflict and struggle. It was also religion that helped spark the biggest and most notable reforms of England during those times.
This paper will show a few of the reasons why religion and not politics that caused the biggest problems in 17th Century England. The 17th Century is popularly referred to as the Age of Reason by many historians. Prior to this time religion in England was unshakable. The Church of England was known to greatly influence the Monarchy and was established to be the authority over things that are spiritual. The church dictated their precepts to the people and no one was to question them.
However in the early part of the 17th Century, the Church of England was challenged by a group called the Puritans. The group boldly questioned the totalitarian rule of the church as well as the validity of the practices they imposed on the people. The Puritans believed that the church was essentially suppressing people’s freedom. At the same time the group, a strong opposition to the Catholic faith, believed that the Church of England essentially mirrored what they know to be false practices of Catholicism.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud found an ally in King Charles I. Both men vehemently opposed the existence of the Puritans and campaigned to put an end to the movement. However, the Parliament saw the Puritans differently. The first major conflict religion broke out during this time. When King Charles I was executed in 1949, he was replaced by King Charles II. The latter while not outwardly religious was known for most part a practicing Catholic. During his PROBLEMS IN THE time the Parliament sought to lead people back to the Church of England.
They were determined to put an end to the many independent churches that began sprouting during that time. The law makers passed the Clarendon Code (Lambert, 2009) that allowed prosecution of people who refused to belong to the Church of England. A series of laws were enacted under the code. They include the use of the common prayer book, the forbiddance of worship gatherings by big groups, and the zoning of non-conforming ministers. By the time of King James II, the break-away church groups were still strong in number.
The King, also a devout Catholic (Lambert, 2009), only appointed people who shared his religious beliefs in to power. The religious struggles of the time continued until towards the end of the century. However because there was a reawakening of intellect in this period, “religious revolution” could not be stopped. By the end of the 17th Century many independent churches found their way into England. The Age of Reason afforded the people the freedom to discern things for themselves. As a result they sought better understanding of the fundamental areas of their lives.
In the case of England, this was religion. Since religion was the prevailing authority of England during the 17th century, it was naturally the area that people desired to reform the most. While many of the conflicts involved politics, they were mostly because of religion. In fact the biggest and most notable reforms during the time were in the area of religion. Therefore, it can be said that England in the 17th Century was troubled mostly by conflicts in religion. Reference Lambert, T. (2009). 17th century religion. Retrieved June 4, 2010 from http://www. localhistories. org/17thcenturyreligion. htmlSample Essay of Eduzaurus.com