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Alt.history Challenge - No Reformation, Does The Industrial Revolution Happen?


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#61 RETAC21

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 1229 PM

Ok, so you make a convincing case the terrain was unfavorable to railway lines, and that the type of coal was unsuitable for large scale industrial smelting. Fair enough, Ill believe that. What was the political status of Spain line in this period? Was it supportive of industrial efforts? Was there any indications on there being any kind of retardation on private investment?

 

Pardon my ignorance of Spanish politics in this period, the course I did concentrated mainly on central Europe and the regions got short shrift.

 

The problem wasn't just one of where the resources where, but how they got consumed. Basque iron got exported to... Britain, as Bilbao and Santander were ports that historically served wool to Northern Europe (specifically, Flanders), so the local infrastructure in place wasn't geared to serve the agricultural provinces to the South.

 

Also, commerce in Spain with the Americas was concentrated in the South, initially Seville, then Cadiz with other ports restricted and other nations banned on commerce with South America (mercantilism wasn't just an English fad).

 

When most of South America gained independence in the decade after Napoleon, the places where commerce and capital were concentrated suffered a downturn which meant no resources were readily available for industrialisation (and a substantial level of incompetence and corruption didn't help, together with political instability which kept foreign capital away). In contrast, Cuba developed quite well despite a mainly agrarian economy and boasted the first railway in Spain (then being a province).

 

The Carlist war, revolutions, etc. mean that it wasn't until the 1870s that a stable govenrment was established and the first local industries sprung up paid for by local savings from the agro part of the country and then foreign capital, but also a strong protectionist policy that developed some regions (Basque country, Catalonia) at the price of underdeveloping others (Andalusia).


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#62 Panzermann

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 1836 PM

to put it another way: Spain was really two countries economically: the north exporting to Belgium and England, the SOuth trading with the Spanish Empire and the south then had to bear the consequences of the empire's dissolution.


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#63 sunday

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 1915 PM

to put it another way: Spain was really two countries economically: the north exporting to Belgium and England, the SOuth trading with the Spanish Empire and the south then had to bear the consequences of the empire's dissolution.


That could be more true in the 19th century than in the 17th-18th centuries, but still falls out of the initial time scope of the thread.

Let's remember that Robert Fulton was American, for instance, and the first paddle steamers were made in pre-revolution France.
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#64 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 0408 AM

 

Ok, so you make a convincing case the terrain was unfavorable to railway lines, and that the type of coal was unsuitable for large scale industrial smelting. Fair enough, Ill believe that. What was the political status of Spain line in this period? Was it supportive of industrial efforts? Was there any indications on there being any kind of retardation on private investment?

 

Pardon my ignorance of Spanish politics in this period, the course I did concentrated mainly on central Europe and the regions got short shrift.

 

The problem wasn't just one of where the resources where, but how they got consumed. Basque iron got exported to... Britain, as Bilbao and Santander were ports that historically served wool to Northern Europe (specifically, Flanders), so the local infrastructure in place wasn't geared to serve the agricultural provinces to the South.

 

Also, commerce in Spain with the Americas was concentrated in the South, initially Seville, then Cadiz with other ports restricted and other nations banned on commerce with South America (mercantilism wasn't just an English fad).

 

When most of South America gained independence in the decade after Napoleon, the places where commerce and capital were concentrated suffered a downturn which meant no resources were readily available for industrialisation (and a substantial level of incompetence and corruption didn't help, together with political instability which kept foreign capital away). In contrast, Cuba developed quite well despite a mainly agrarian economy and boasted the first railway in Spain (then being a province).

 

The Carlist war, revolutions, etc. mean that it wasn't until the 1870s that a stable govenrment was established and the first local industries sprung up paid for by local savings from the agro part of the country and then foreign capital, but also a strong protectionist policy that developed some regions (Basque country, Catalonia) at the price of underdeveloping others (Andalusia).

 

 

Yeah, I can understand that. We saw a similar downturn in trade out of the port of Liverpool when we lost the Empire. It bounced back, but largely for European trade is my impression. So the difference here was that whilst we had industrialization going on at the time of the rise in the British Empire, helping its rise, at that precise moment Spain was starting to lose theirs. Yeah, Ill accept that.

 

 

 

to put it another way: Spain was really two countries economically: the north exporting to Belgium and England, the SOuth trading with the Spanish Empire and the south then had to bear the consequences of the empire's dissolution.


That could be more true in the 19th century than in the 17th-18th centuries, but still falls out of the initial time scope of the thread.

Let's remember that Robert Fulton was American, for instance, and the first paddle steamers were made in pre-revolution France.

 

The French had great scientists and engineers, every bit as good as Britain. What they didnt have was a Government that was receptive to development as there was in Britain.

 

Not that Britain was a level playing field (you only have to remember what happened with the board of Longitude being tardy in handing out prize money), but by and large, if someone had an invention in Britain, it got financed and built. In France, even under the Third Empire, it wasn't what you knew, it was who you knew.


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#65 Ssnake

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 0433 AM

Coming back to the original question, I think it's pretty safe to say that there would have been an Industrial Revolution even without Reformation; I further posit that there would have been some kind of Reformation even if Luther had been silenced early on.


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#66 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 0555 AM

Well you come back to whether the reformation allowed any specific scientific discoveries to florish, that would otherwise have been held back. And I think there is some evidence of this. For example, Charles Darwin. In fact, Darwin delayed publishing his discovery even in Britain for something like 2 decades because he thought he would be attacked for it by the clergy. And he certainly was, but being politically a secular nation when it came to politics, it was tolerated, studied, and eventually embraced the ideas. Even as the church of England continued to seeth at the idea.

 

I was listening just now to James Burke's Connections programme, and in episode 3 he discusses the difficulty they had in discovering why it was impossible to lift water more than 32 feet. The answer was apparently air pressure. Which then lead onto a study of vacuum's, but that was a problem because the local branch of the church absolutely would not countenance the study of vacuum's which it stated were impossible. So the fellow studying all this  wrote his results to a friend in Paris where such ideas could be studied freely.

 

 

So there clearly WAS hindrance of scientific discovery by church bureaucracy.

 

 

That said,  I would not claim early protestant England was in any sense a free and open place for scientific inquiry. I seem to recall James I, as well as publishing the King James bible for which he is better remembered, wrote a treatise on witchcraft. But there was something  latterly different   from Europe, even if it was a lack of orthodoxy, that does seem to have assisted scientific discovery.

 

If there was one advantage I think that gave us the ability to do this, I think it was the separation of Church and State. It was approaching politics's in an increasingly secular fashion, which perhaps also had an impact on other parts of society. And I do think this was not the case in mainland Europe until much later, perhaps even until after the 1848 wave of revolutions across Europe.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 17 July 2019 - 0556 AM.

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#67 Rick

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 0659 AM

Well you come back to whether the reformation allowed any specific scientific discoveries to florish, that would otherwise have been held back. And I think there is some evidence of this. For example, Charles Darwin. In fact, Darwin delayed publishing his discovery even in Britain for something like 2 decades because he thought he would be attacked for it by the clergy. And he certainly was, but being politically a secular nation when it came to politics, it was tolerated, studied, and eventually embraced the ideas. Even as the church of England continued to seeth at the idea.

 

I was listening just now to James Burke's Connections programme, and in episode 3 he discusses the difficulty they had in discovering why it was impossible to lift water more than 32 feet. The answer was apparently air pressure. Which then lead onto a study of vacuum's, but that was a problem because the local branch of the church absolutely would not countenance the study of vacuum's which it stated were impossible. So the fellow studying all this  wrote his results to a friend in Paris where such ideas could be studied freely.

 

 

So there clearly WAS hindrance of scientific discovery by church bureaucracy.

 

 

That said,  I would not claim early protestant England was in any sense a free and open place for scientific inquiry. I seem to recall James I, as well as publishing the King James bible for which he is better remembered, wrote a treatise on witchcraft. But there was something  latterly different   from Europe, even if it was a lack of orthodoxy, that does seem to have assisted scientific discovery.

 

If there was one advantage I think that gave us the ability to do this, I think it was the separation of Church and State. It was approaching politics's in an increasingly secular fashion, which perhaps also had an impact on other parts of society. And I do think this was not the case in mainland Europe until much later, perhaps even until after the 1848 wave of revolutions across Europe.

Stuart,your being mislead. There is a large body of literature showing the truthful interactions of science and religion.

 

 https://www.equip.or...-modern-science

 

Edited by Rick, 17 July 2019 - 0700 AM.

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#68 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 0708 AM

I am always a bit mystified by arguments denying the teachings of Charles Darwin. Ive always looked at it, if there is a God, there is no reason why he couldnt have used the tools Darwin laid out. There is nothing to say if God is capable of making the world, he didnt use evolution as one of the tools to push things along.

 

But thats by the by. In the end, science is the study of things and applying them for practical of commercial use. Religion is the application of faith for the betterment of the soul. Ive never really seen much need for an overlap between the two spheres. Many Brits I think feel that way, but of course, we are weird even by European standards.


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#69 Ssnake

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 0810 AM

Well you come back to whether the reformation allowed any specific scientific discoveries to florish, that would otherwise have been held back.

 

Delayed? Yes.

 

Held back?

While I acknowledge that it's all speculation and that there can't be proof, I don't see more than spurious hints for such an absolutist argument.


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#70 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 0851 AM

 

Well you come back to whether the reformation allowed any specific scientific discoveries to florish, that would otherwise have been held back.

 

Delayed? Yes.

 

Held back?

While I acknowledge that it's all speculation and that there can't be proof, I don't see more than spurious hints for such an absolutist argument.

 

 

Well its spurious if you are not operating from any evidence. There is the evidence on that account by Burke there that technological development was held up by Church bureaucracy refusing study of vacuum's. And before anyone says anything about my being hard on the catholic church, I think it fair to point out the work of Johannes Keppler was also held up Lutherans, which was I understand persecution due to his certain beliefs he had involving his work.

https://en.wikipedia...Johannes_Kepler

 

So clearly, ANY church was capable of holding up technological advancement, if it didnt suit their personal aims.

 

A better example is Gallileo.

https://en.wikipedia...Galileo_Galilei

Galileo's championing of heliocentrism and Copernicanism was controversial during his lifetime, when most subscribed to geocentric models such as the Tychonic system.[11] He met with opposition from astronomers, who doubted heliocentrism because of the absence of an observed stellar parallax.[11] The matter was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, which concluded that heliocentrism was "foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture".[11][12][13] Galileo later defended his views in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632), which appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII and thus alienated him and the Jesuits, who had both supported Galileo up until this point.[11] He was tried by the Inquisition, found "vehemently suspect of heresy", and forced to recant. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest.[14][15] While under house arrest, he wrote Two New Sciences, in which he summarized work he had done some forty years earlier on the two sciences now called kinematics and strength of materials.[16][17]

 

As a contrast to the experiences of Galileo look at the experiences of Isaac Newton. There is only about 30-40 years between them at this point. This was the worst sticking point of his career, and seemingly, it had absolutely nothing to do with his work.

https://en.wikipedia...ki/Isaac_Newton

In April 1667, he returned to Cambridge and in October was elected as a fellow of Trinity.[17][18] Fellows were required to become ordained priests, although this was not enforced in the restoration years and an assertion of conformity to the Church of England was sufficient. However, by 1675 the issue could not be avoided and by then his unconventional views stood in the way.[19] Nevertheless, Newton managed to avoid it by means of a special permission from Charles II.

 

 

Ive been trying hard to think of anyone in England that had their work or held up or was ruined post reformation due to unfashionable religious or political beliefs, and I struggle to think of one. The only one I can think of was Darwin, and that was to a large extent his own doing, and his lack of security in his own beliefs. He wasnt even the first Briton  to theorise evolution, he was just the first to get it into print. The difference being in Britain in that period, we were secular. There was no real involvement of region in politics since Charles I. Now whether that gave us an advantage in technological development or not, I cannot possibly assert, but I do suggest its one possible explanation why so many technical developments were developed or were welcomed here.

 

 

Am I certain of this? But I mention it as something to consider. If the ONLY difference the reformation made to England was an ability to think without orthodoxy, or creating a separation of state and church in politics, then maybe that was the key ingredient.

 

At the very least, i think you can make a case the reformation brought the industrial revolution forward. It would have happened anyway, but nobody can predict how long it would have took. You only have to look at James Burkes connection series to see how unlikely and chancy many of the key ingredients of the industrial revolution were.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 17 July 2019 - 0901 AM.

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#71 Panzermann

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 0913 AM

Well you come back to whether the reformation allowed any specific scientific discoveries to florish, that would otherwise have been held back. And I think there is some evidence of this. For example, Charles Darwin. In fact, Darwin delayed publishing his discovery even in Britain for something like 2 decades because he thought he would be attacked for it by the clergy. And he certainly was, but being politically a secular nation when it came to politics, it was tolerated, studied, and eventually embraced the ideas. Even as the church of England continued to seeth at the idea.

 

 

 

I think the secularisation and thus less influence of churches of any flavour are the important  steps.


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#72 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 0930 AM

I think so.

 

Any Church is an institution. Its a bureaucracy. And the bigger a bureaucracy  is, the usually less efficient it is at doing what it does. A church that is well established in landowning, politics, science, is going to have some pretty fundamental views on how it does things, and is not going to want to change, particularly after hundreds of years. Separate church from politics , or from landowning and industry, and suddenly everything that can create a proper industrial kickstart is there. All it needs is money.

 

When i say this, I do not suggest Protestantism is in any form a better form of religion than Catholicism. That would be a ridiculous argument for me to make, and I wouldn't dream of even thinking it. But if the ONLY thing it did was sever England from those well established views and precepts of how to behave, then I would argue this may have been one of the keys for why industrialism kicked off in England first.

 

 

 

 

I remember watching a time team something like 20 years ago, and they were digging an Elizabethan foundry on the south coast, one that was believed to make guns for Drakes fleet facing down the Armada. So there are 2 points there. One, the struggle against the Armada, was largely a religious struggle. A prototypical cold war in some respects. So no struggle, no need for that foundry.

Secondly, the money to make the guns, came from Elizabeth's treasury. Which was flusher than it would have been, because her day disestablished the monasteries, so she had land for income and taxes.

And lastly workers, because now there are no monasteries, there is no working for the monasteries, so you have to get a job with Guvmint. Call it a start of the military industrial complex.

 

The reason why I mention this, the same programme suggested (and it was just a theory at the time) that this place was one of the starting points of the English industrial revolution, a good 160 odd years before its generally accepted it kicked off.  Which sounds shakey, except after James 1 came to England, they also dug this coal mine under the sea at Culross. It is described here as Scotlands first industrial town.

http://www.engineeri... in the Sea.pdf

 

An underwater mine to dig coal? It even had a vertical shaft built through the sea so it could load ships at anchor. Big engineering in the European context, and a big deal even for the Victorians.

 

So you have all this happening within 70 years of the reformation. And to be honest, I find that very difficult to see all that as a coincidence.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 17 July 2019 - 0942 AM.

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#73 Markus Becker

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 1050 AM

I think your inner rail fan would appreciate this, once passed through google translator. It is the wikipedia entry on the mountain pass between Leon and Asturias, 42km total length, only in the pass itself. A outline of the layout:
 


No need for a translation. The map on the wiki page makes a very clear point. 42 km. What's the distance as the crow flies? Less than ten for sure.
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#74 Ssnake

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 1051 AM

All I'm taking away from your examples, Stuart, is a church that could "delay the inevitable" - not one that was in total control of science. That Galileo was prosecuted by the church for championing the heliocentric world model is a popular but nevertheless contested reading of historical sources. Church and pope never acted against Galilei while he championed the heliocentric model as mathematically easier to handle, and as a useful MODEL for e.g. navigational purposes.

(Let's not forget that the Copernician model wasn't without flaws since the planets demonstrably didn't have precisely circular orbits, but elliptical ones; as long as that wasn't understood and accepted (Kepler's model) it was just as wrong as the Ptolemaic model which needed more and more epicycles to still conform to observated data, so Galilei did not have the facts on his side.)

Only when Galileo made the claim that the heliocentric model wasn't just a model but reality, and that this had implications on theology as well (IOW, that the Pope and the churche's official teachings were, in essence, heresy) the churched moved on him (and understandably so, since he now attacked them on their home turf).

 

Be it as it may be. The church never had total control over all universities, all teachings, and was in a losing battle to control the printing press as a medium. So they could not have put the lid on everything that scientists would discover which would eventually lead to the industrial revolution.


Edited by Ssnake, 17 July 2019 - 1052 AM.

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#75 R011

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 1105 AM

It really didn't help that he called his secular monarch an idiot in print. I don't think there was anywhere in Europe at that time one could do that without getting in trouble.

As I understand it, Galileo's theories were not accepted in Protestant countries either.
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#76 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 1118 AM

All I'm taking away from your examples, Stuart, is a church that could "delay the inevitable" - not one that was in total control of science. That Galileo was prosecuted by the church for championing the heliocentric world model is a popular but nevertheless contested reading of historical sources. Church and pope never acted against Galilei while he championed the heliocentric model as mathematically easier to handle, and as a useful MODEL for e.g. navigational purposes.

(Let's not forget that the Copernician model wasn't without flaws since the planets demonstrably didn't have precisely circular orbits, but elliptical ones; as long as that wasn't understood and accepted (Kepler's model) it was just as wrong as the Ptolemaic model which needed more and more epicycles to still conform to observated data, so Galilei did not have the facts on his side.)

Only when Galileo made the claim that the heliocentric model wasn't just a model but reality, and that this had implications on theology as well (IOW, that the Pope and the churche's official teachings were, in essence, heresy) the churched moved on him (and understandably so, since he now attacked them on their home turf).

 

Be it as it may be. The church never had total control over all universities, all teachings, and was in a losing battle to control the printing press as a medium. So they could not have put the lid on everything that scientists would discover which would eventually lead to the industrial revolution.

 

I think I already said that, that the industrial revolution would have happened, but would have been delayed. Much delayed? Well who else was placed to pick it up?. Venice MIGHT have been a good starting point, but it had no land. Who else was waiting in the wings, sat on a mounting of coal, with a rich upper and middle class, with a stable Government AND had an open attitude towards industrial development?

 

I think we would have had to wait for France to win under Napoleon, and maybe in the wake of that with the sweeping away of old orders, it might have kicked off. But France had limited reserves of coal, so they would have had to have secured large supplies of coal before they could have had steam locomotives. Which would have meant conquering Britain. So you are looking at maybe a good 50-100 years after the established start of the industrial revolution, in the 1750's. If you accept the Elizabethan period as I do, then its obviously a lot longer.

 

I don't believe I asserted the Church had complete control. Im suggesting if there was a fear of some technological developments or scientific discoveries, the question arises, did that have a retarding effect on people bothering to TRY and make technical developments, or working on new scientific discoveries? We know that happened all the time in Communist states, if people cant benefit from their hard work directly, what incentive is there to try?

Its an unanswerable question, the only thing that can be said is that England made technical advances leading to industrialization, and Europe didn't till much later. Its an explanation people either accept as a possibility or dont.


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#77 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 1120 AM

It really didn't help that he called his secular monarch an idiot in print. I don't think there was anywhere in Europe at that time one could do that without getting in trouble.

As I understand it, Galileo's theories were not accepted in Protestant countries either.

 

Probably weren't, but clearly Newton picked up on them, and other well known European works.. It was apparently accepted when channeled through him.


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#78 Markus Becker

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 1159 AM

"Well who else was placed to pick it up?."

You guys. Parliament is in place. The lords and the rich will use it to secure the position vis a vis the crown regardless of reformation.
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#79 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 1239 PM

Yes, but England historically was not wealthy after it was separated from its lands in France. That most of the reason why we spent the next 200 years trying to get them back. :D

 

There was I think, 2 reasons why Henry split with Rome. Firstly, he wanted a divorce. Secondly, whether this was a primary reason, or a secondary bonus I know not, and that was land reform. The Church in England owned colossal estates, value industries, valuable metals come to that. In fact, when they demolished the abbeys, they sold them off piece by piece, and even made money back on that.

 

So after that, yes, there were lords with large estates, valuable resources, even sometimes nice homes that used to be old Abbey's. Best of all, the crown was flush with money. Now that was undoubtedly a cynical act, but in light of what came later, it may have been necessary for a large moneyed class to invest in industrial developments. For example, the canals in the UK were make by large landowners. The banks were setup by the same people. Maybe the Church would have done it, or perhaps for purely conservative reasons, they wouldn't.

 

I don't think its so easy to explain away the reformation as unnecessary. Would the crown have even had the money to invest in its colonies in North America? Probably not.


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#80 Ssnake

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 1247 PM

What I took away from the infallible historical records (a.k.a. "The Tudors") was that Henry would have been perfectly fine with Catholicism if he had been granted the divorce; once that he bypassed Rome it was a power struggle where the "Land Reform" was maybe an ancillary bonus, but it was primarily about bringing the church to heel and bring it under state control.


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