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What were the causes of the Iconoclastic Movement in the Dutch Revolt (1559-1648)?

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IEP Paris

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  1. Introduction
  2. Evidence of disunity in the Netherlands
  3. Parker's view of the sixteenth century
  4. Catholic hesitancy to condemn the Calvinists
  5. Philip II's financial policies
  6. The noblemen of the Netherlands
  7. The growth in Calvinist numbers in the Netherlands
  8. Conclusion
  9. Bibliography

In this essay I will be treating the iconoclastic movement in the Netherlands (1566 ? 1567) as the beginning of the Dutch Revolt. I will begin by examining the historical context of the Dutch Revolt, that is to say, the political, economic and social aspects of the Netherlands in the sixteenth century. I will then look more specifically at direct cause and effect ? what factors stimulated the launch of the iconoclasm in the Netherlands. I will also be taking into consideration those who supported the iconoclasts, overtly or otherwise, and try to understand what their motives were.

[...] Yet when captured and interrogated it was found that self-professed devout Calvinists knew very little about the dogma of the faith for which they were prepared to risk their lives; they had just known what they were against.[20] This works in favour of the theory that religion did not play as major a role as it did in other iconoclastic movements, that the pedantics of religious difference between Christian faiths were an excuse for the iconoclastic movement of the Dutch Revolt, not a cause. [...]


[...] Catholic hesitancy to condemn the Calvinists was an illustration of a general attitude to the presence of Catholic Spain in Dutch affairs. Philip II's policies concerning the Netherlands provoked very negative reactions not just from the growing number of Calvinists in the Netherlands but from all tiers of society, especially the nobility, whose privileges were put in danger as a result of his actions. opposition against the harsh repression of heretics came not only from the rising number of Protestants. [...]


[...] He was seen as Spanish king, ruling a Spanish empire in the interests of the Spaniards.'[11] The iconoclasm, for them, was the start of a revolt against Philip himself in so far as they felt that Philip's policies had turned the Catholic Church into mouthpiece of Spain.'[12] Philip II's financial policies were a symptom of his general attitude towards the Netherlands. He constantly brought in new plans with a view to dominating the States-General and it seemed as if he wanted to ?Hispanicise the Netherlands.'[13] Further evidence to support this belief came with the introduction in 1559 of the papal bull Super Universas, which reorganised the archdioceses of the Netherlands in such a way that fourteen new bishoprics were to be introduced. [...]

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