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


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#1 Ivanhoe

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 2125 PM

I've started reading and thinking a bit about the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution, and then zooming back a bit to look at causes and effects before and after.

 

So, here's a challenge. Assume that Luther never nails his Theses to the door, no Protestant movements, no Lutheran/Calvinist/Catholic conflicts.

 

How does history change?


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#2 sunday

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 2203 PM

There still could be a Dutch Revolt driven by the ambition of William the Silent of Orange. If not, Flanders and the Spanish Netherlands will continue to be the economic center of the continent, and they flourish because of no blockade by the Sea Beggars. More commerce with America through Seville/Antwerp, possible Flemish/Dutch emigration to the Spanish Indies.

The HRE keeps its religious and political unity. No Perpetual Diet at Regensburg, thus more effective administration, and no devastation because of the 30 Years War. The Teutonic Order does not evolve into the Protestant Prussian Kingdom. Perhaps Teutonic Knights are incorporated to the HRE.

Perhaps the Henry VIII divorce is now an anecdote, as there was no a separate set of religious sects to give him an intellectual background, and Mary I could redress the English situation. Increase of commerce with Spain and the HRE. Also no Puritans, thus no religious driver to settle out of England, and no Mayflower. North America is colonized by other means. Up north, Flodden Field still takes place, Scotland gets less aggressive for a time, and no Presbyterians.

 

Possible alliance between Spain, the HRE, and England against France. France could try to get help among the Turks. Turks that probably do not conquer Hungary in 1526, and find arrayed against them the forces that were battling the wars of religion. Perhaps that could end in some political marriages, Felix Austria-style.

 

Probably Sweden does not go devastating Poland and Northern Germany. Perhaps against Russia? Or, Poland helps Russia to get the Golden Horde/Crimean Khanate out?

Too many possible outcomes, but I think the major points are:

- Europe remains together, so Tartars, Turks, and North African pirates are dealt with 100 or 200 years before our time.

- France remains a wild card.

- I am not sure what could have been different for Spain, with the exception of less American bullion spent in wars. Still risk of hyperinflation. A Charles II could be avoided by marrying more with the Stuarts/Bourbons.

- More peace, good for the economy and the technical progress.

 

Of course, I am not an expert on the matter.


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#3 DKTanker

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Posted 14 July 2019 - 2238 PM

History would be different while being the same.  Martin Luther wasn't alone in his thinking or ideas, were he, nailing his Theses to the door of the All Saints' Church in Wittenberg*, wouldn't even have been a footnote in the history of vandalism.  Moreover, it was an invention about 70 years prior to that which helped spread those ideas, the Gutenberg printing press.  But then I'm not even giving much credit to Gutenberg because again, his idea for a printing press didn't happen in a vacuum, if he hadn't introduced movable type to the screw press, somebody else surely would have.

 

The point being that there would have been a blip in human history, maybe by as long lasting as a generation, but human cultural evolution will not long be stymied.  There is just too much inertia for absence of one individual to have a lasting influence.  In any case, how would we know?

 

*Apparently there is no evidence to support this mythological act.


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#4 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 0219 AM

When I was studying the history of Europe between 1815 and 1914, which is when most of them industrialized, there was a trend noted that deserves some study. All the nations in Europe that first industrialized were protestant nations. That doesn't mean that somehow protestants were smarter. It just implies there was some retardation on progress in Catholic nations, that held them back. And I think that was the Catholic church being a retardation on progress, perhaps for social reasons, perhaps even because they owned land or had great influence and feared the upheaval progress would bring.

 

An example is Italy, which was unified by Garibaldi. Unfortunately in doing so he took some of the land that belonged to the Vatican. If I can remember rightly, the Pope put out a bull or proclamation saying that anyone that supported Garibaldi and tthe new Italian state would be excommunicated (or at the very least, treated with extreme displeasure). The result was Italy took longer to unify than many of the European nations that also went through similar integrations (such as the German Empire). That may have contributed to poor performance in WW1, and eventually the rise of Mussolini.

 

I dont think the industrial revolution would have happened, it was too destructive of the established social order. If you think of what happened in just Britain, it nearly resulted in revolutions or uprisings several times, and it was only the use of excessive violence (such as at Peterloo) that kept things in check. Look to what happened in several places in Europe in 1848, and clearly that was an option that didnt always work. I think most nations would have recognized the problems it was causing and just clamped down on such progressive ideas.

 

Maybe Industrialism would have progressed, but it would have been at a far, far slower pace than it was. It may have made the US the initial industrializing nation, and Europe remaining just a backwater.


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#5 bd1

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 0240 AM

IMHO reformation (eventually) enabled education for masses. in current baltic states the roman catholic church arrived in early 13th century, but real education  (and possibly, true spread of christianity in the sense that flock finally understood what priest was meaning while preaching  :D​  ) started to spread with late swedish state and especially hernhutians-movement. https://en.wikipedia...Moravian_Church  in late 1600-s and first half of 18th century.

 

neither catholic church or orthodox really cared about spread of knowledge amongst lower classes


Edited by bd1, 15 July 2019 - 0242 AM.

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#6 sunday

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 0254 AM

(...)All the nations in Europe that first industrialized were protestant nations(...).

 
Belgium was not a protestant nation.
 

The industrial revolution on the European continent began in Belgium. Before that, the country had traditionally enjoyed a vibrant trading tradition for many years. Textile production flourished in Flanders, iron processing in Walloon and there were large coal reserves in the south and east of the country. These key branches proved ideal pre-requisites for industrialisation. Belgians also maintained intensive contacts with Great Britain and in 1720, the first steam engine on the continent went into action near Liège. The model, made by Thomas Newcomen, was used to draw out waste water from a coal mine. Sometime later this was succeeded by another steam engine in the coal region around Mons and Charleroi. Thus everything was in place for boosting the coal and steel industries in both areas.


source


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#7 RETAC21

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 0347 AM

When I was studying the history of Europe between 1815 and 1914, which is when most of them industrialized, there was a trend noted that deserves some study. All the nations in Europe that first industrialized were protestant nations. That doesn't mean that somehow protestants were smarter. It just implies there was some retardation on progress in Catholic nations, that held them back. And I think that was the Catholic church being a retardation on progress, perhaps for social reasons, perhaps even because they owned land or had great influence and feared the upheaval progress would bring.

 

An example is Italy, which was unified by Garibaldi. Unfortunately in doing so he took some of the land that belonged to the Vatican. If I can remember rightly, the Pope put out a bull or proclamation saying that anyone that supported Garibaldi and tthe new Italian state would be excommunicated (or at the very least, treated with extreme displeasure). The result was Italy took longer to unify than many of the European nations that also went through similar integrations (such as the German Empire). That may have contributed to poor performance in WW1, and eventually the rise of Mussolini.

 

I dont think the industrial revolution would have happened, it was too destructive of the established social order. If you think of what happened in just Britain, it nearly resulted in revolutions or uprisings several times, and it was only the use of excessive violence (such as at Peterloo) that kept things in check. Look to what happened in several places in Europe in 1848, and clearly that was an option that didnt always work. I think most nations would have recognized the problems it was causing and just clamped down on such progressive ideas.

 

Maybe Industrialism would have progressed, but it would have been at a far, far slower pace than it was. It may have made the US the initial industrializing nation, and Europe remaining just a backwater.

 

The key is the separation of Church and state, that happened later in Southern Europe. Hence, Northern Italy industrialised earlier but the Papal states missed the train.


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#8 sunday

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 0409 AM

I think the key for the early industrial revolution was having coal fields next to deposits of iron ore, more than the legal arrangements of state and church.


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#9 Markus Becker

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 0415 AM

Luther was neither the only, nor the first protestant reformer and maybe not even the most important one. In order to butterfly the reformation away the catholic church would have to change its ways a lot.

I'm not sure how much no Protestantism would impact industrialisation. The one thing you definitely need for it are secure property rights. The English parliament representing the property owners will work on that regardless of religion.
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#10 Murph

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 0514 AM

When I was studying the history of Europe between 1815 and 1914, which is when most of them industrialized, there was a trend noted that deserves some study. All the nations in Europe that first industrialized were protestant nations. That doesn't mean that somehow protestants were smarter. It just implies there was some retardation on progress in Catholic nations, that held them back. And I think that was the Catholic church being a retardation on progress, perhaps for social reasons, perhaps even because they owned land or had great influence and feared the upheaval progress would bring.

 

An example is Italy, which was unified by Garibaldi. Unfortunately in doing so he took some of the land that belonged to the Vatican. If I can remember rightly, the Pope put out a bull or proclamation saying that anyone that supported Garibaldi and tthe new Italian state would be excommunicated (or at the very least, treated with extreme displeasure). The result was Italy took longer to unify than many of the European nations that also went through similar integrations (such as the German Empire). That may have contributed to poor performance in WW1, and eventually the rise of Mussolini.

 

I dont think the industrial revolution would have happened, it was too destructive of the established social order. If you think of what happened in just Britain, it nearly resulted in revolutions or uprisings several times, and it was only the use of excessive violence (such as at Peterloo) that kept things in check. Look to what happened in several places in Europe in 1848, and clearly that was an option that didnt always work. I think most nations would have recognized the problems it was causing and just clamped down on such progressive ideas.

 

Maybe Industrialism would have progressed, but it would have been at a far, far slower pace than it was. It may have made the US the initial industrializing nation, and Europe remaining just a backwater.

Good point here.  The Catholic nations still had the dead hand of the papacy holding them down.  


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#11 Ivanhoe

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 0525 AM

IMHO reformation (eventually) enabled education for masses. in current baltic states the roman catholic church arrived in early 13th century, but real education  (and possibly, true spread of christianity in the sense that flock finally understood what priest was meaning while preaching  :D​  ) started to spread with late swedish state and especially hernhutians-movement. https://en.wikipedia...Moravian_Church  in late 1600-s and first half of 18th century.

 

neither catholic church or orthodox really cared about spread of knowledge amongst lower classes

 

I've often felt that the publication and mass production (relatively) of the King James version of the Bible was a turning point.

 

As for Bibles and Christian services in Latin, a wise man once said "Romani ite domum."


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#12 Yama

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 0554 AM

A major economic and social advantage of reformation was dissolution of monastic orders. Not only were some monasteries horribly corrupted, it meant that lots of the educated people had to find something else to do than cozy life in monasteries. Also it was one step in centralizing the states, eliminating a large class of independent landowners.


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#13 Ssnake

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 0559 AM

History would be different while being the same.  Martin Luther wasn't alone in his thinking or ideas ... Moreover, it was an invention about 70 years prior to that which helped spread those ideas, the Gutenberg printing press. ... again, his idea for a printing press didn't happen in a vacuum, if he hadn't introduced movable type to the screw press, somebody else surely would have.

 

I fully agree.

Luther was a skilled demagogue and at the same time also a well-schooled theologian, so he combined three factors that made his absolutely non-unique critique of the Roman Catholic church particularly successful. But he was also a useful pawn on the chessboard of European politics at the time for those of the aristocracy who wished to liberate themselves from overbearing RCC influence on non-religious policy matters.

 

Another often overlooked effect of the Gutenberg press was that it made people realize that they had bad eyes, giving rise to the lens making industry which in turn then accelerated scientific research, both in astronomy and, ultimately, microbiology.


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#14 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 0604 AM

 

(...)All the nations in Europe that first industrialized were protestant nations(...).

 
Belgium was not a protestant nation.
 

The industrial revolution on the European continent began in Belgium. Before that, the country had traditionally enjoyed a vibrant trading tradition for many years. Textile production flourished in Flanders, iron processing in Walloon and there were large coal reserves in the south and east of the country. These key branches proved ideal pre-requisites for industrialisation. Belgians also maintained intensive contacts with Great Britain and in 1720, the first steam engine on the continent went into action near Liège. The model, made by Thomas Newcomen, was used to draw out waste water from a coal mine. Sometime later this was succeeded by another steam engine in the coal region around Mons and Charleroi. Thus everything was in place for boosting the coal and steel industries in both areas.


source

 

 

True, but it was surrounded by nations that were. And I would suspect a LOT of that trade between North Germany, France and Britain would have inevitably gone through them. I also get the impression, rightly or wrongly, that whilst the Catholic Church was still well established in Belgium, it didnt have the kind of authority and control it had in Italy or Spain.

 

It would be interesting to learn who built the Belgian transport links. I'm willing to bet a lot of it was built from outside investors.


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#15 sunday

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 0605 AM

 

When I was studying the history of Europe between 1815 and 1914, which is when most of them industrialized, there was a trend noted that deserves some study. All the nations in Europe that first industrialized were protestant nations. That doesn't mean that somehow protestants were smarter. It just implies there was some retardation on progress in Catholic nations, that held them back. And I think that was the Catholic church being a retardation on progress, perhaps for social reasons, perhaps even because they owned land or had great influence and feared the upheaval progress would bring.
 
An example is Italy, which was unified by Garibaldi. Unfortunately in doing so he took some of the land that belonged to the Vatican. If I can remember rightly, the Pope put out a bull or proclamation saying that anyone that supported Garibaldi and tthe new Italian state would be excommunicated (or at the very least, treated with extreme displeasure). The result was Italy took longer to unify than many of the European nations that also went through similar integrations (such as the German Empire). That may have contributed to poor performance in WW1, and eventually the rise of Mussolini.
 
I dont think the industrial revolution would have happened, it was too destructive of the established social order. If you think of what happened in just Britain, it nearly resulted in revolutions or uprisings several times, and it was only the use of excessive violence (such as at Peterloo) that kept things in check. Look to what happened in several places in Europe in 1848, and clearly that was an option that didnt always work. I think most nations would have recognized the problems it was causing and just clamped down on such progressive ideas.
 
Maybe Industrialism would have progressed, but it would have been at a far, far slower pace than it was. It may have made the US the initial industrializing nation, and Europe remaining just a backwater.

Good point here.  The Catholic nations still had the dead hand of the papacy holding them down.

 


No, it is not. Stuart could present his own opinions, but not his own facts. One fact there is Belgium, a Catholic country, being the first Continental European country to develop an Industrial Revolution. Thus that argument is a good example of garbage in, garbage out.


Edited by sunday, 15 July 2019 - 0606 AM.

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#16 Murph

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 0606 AM

A major economic and social advantage of reformation was dissolution of monastic orders. Not only were some monasteries horribly corrupted, it meant that lots of the educated people had to find something else to do than cozy life in monasteries. Also it was one step in centralizing the states, eliminating a large class of independent landowners.

You know I had not thought about that, an interesting idea.  Getting land away from the "dead hand" of the Church was a major impetus as well I suspect.


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#17 Murph

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 0606 AM

 

 

When I was studying the history of Europe between 1815 and 1914, which is when most of them industrialized, there was a trend noted that deserves some study. All the nations in Europe that first industrialized were protestant nations. That doesn't mean that somehow protestants were smarter. It just implies there was some retardation on progress in Catholic nations, that held them back. And I think that was the Catholic church being a retardation on progress, perhaps for social reasons, perhaps even because they owned land or had great influence and feared the upheaval progress would bring.
 
An example is Italy, which was unified by Garibaldi. Unfortunately in doing so he took some of the land that belonged to the Vatican. If I can remember rightly, the Pope put out a bull or proclamation saying that anyone that supported Garibaldi and tthe new Italian state would be excommunicated (or at the very least, treated with extreme displeasure). The result was Italy took longer to unify than many of the European nations that also went through similar integrations (such as the German Empire). That may have contributed to poor performance in WW1, and eventually the rise of Mussolini.
 
I dont think the industrial revolution would have happened, it was too destructive of the established social order. If you think of what happened in just Britain, it nearly resulted in revolutions or uprisings several times, and it was only the use of excessive violence (such as at Peterloo) that kept things in check. Look to what happened in several places in Europe in 1848, and clearly that was an option that didnt always work. I think most nations would have recognized the problems it was causing and just clamped down on such progressive ideas.
 
Maybe Industrialism would have progressed, but it would have been at a far, far slower pace than it was. It may have made the US the initial industrializing nation, and Europe remaining just a backwater.

Good point here.  The Catholic nations still had the dead hand of the papacy holding them down.

 


No, it is not. Stuart could present his own opinions, but not his own facts. One fact there is Belgium, a Catholic country, being the first Continental European country to develop an Industrial Revolution.

 

I was unaware of that.


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#18 sunday

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 0607 AM

 

 

(...)All the nations in Europe that first industrialized were protestant nations(...).

 
Belgium was not a protestant nation.
 

The industrial revolution on the European continent began in Belgium. Before that, the country had traditionally enjoyed a vibrant trading tradition for many years. Textile production flourished in Flanders, iron processing in Walloon and there were large coal reserves in the south and east of the country. These key branches proved ideal pre-requisites for industrialisation. Belgians also maintained intensive contacts with Great Britain and in 1720, the first steam engine on the continent went into action near Liège. The model, made by Thomas Newcomen, was used to draw out waste water from a coal mine. Sometime later this was succeeded by another steam engine in the coal region around Mons and Charleroi. Thus everything was in place for boosting the coal and steel industries in both areas.


source

 

 

True, but it was surrounded by nations that were. (...)

 

 

Yes, like that conspicuous champion of Protestantism, 19th century France. More reading, less writing, Stuart.


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#19 sunday

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 0609 AM

No, it is not. Stuart could present his own opinions, but not his own facts. One fact there is Belgium, a Catholic country, being the first Continental European country to develop an Industrial Revolution.

I was unaware of that.

 
http://www.tank-net....60#entry1437573
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#20 sunday

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 0624 AM

Anyway, if we could extract ourselves of the old "Papists should be exterminated because reasons", perhaps we could consider that a Catholic Europe going into stasis like the Egypt of the Pharaohs is not very reasonable. That same Europe was able to put the foundation of the scientific revolution with Copernicus, Bacon, Leonardo and Galileo. In case anyone does not know, Galileo was not burnt at the stake.

In our time line, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, Genoa, and Venice were able to keep the Turks at bay, thanks in part to technological advancements. The types of ship used in the great European explorations, caravels, carracks, and galleons were Iberian developments. The Renaissance military revolution, that affirmed the supremacy of pike and shot infantry over the heavy cavalry of the middle ages, was born in the Italian wars, between sundry Italians, Frenchmen, and Spaniards.


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