AP World History : Religions 1450 to 1750

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP World History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Religions 1450 To 1750

Martin Luther was opposed to all of the following ideas and practices except __________.

Possible Answers:

salvation through good deeds 

the selling of indulgences

sacerdotalism 

the Supremacy of the Vatican

vernacular translations of the Bible

Correct answer:

vernacular translations of the Bible

Explanation:

Luther himself created a vernacular translation of scripture. He was against sacerdotalism and encouraged all to communicate directly with God. The other practices listed are emblematic of the corruption he sought to purge from the Catholic Church. In order to answer this question, you could have either known of Luther's vernacular translation, or known about his points of contention with the church.

Example Question #2 : Religions 1450 To 1750

Which monarch severed ties with the Vatican and the Catholic Church?

Possible Answers:

Henry VIII

Louis XIV

Isabella I

Mary I

Charlemagne

Correct answer:

Henry VIII

Explanation:

Henry VIII of England famously separated from the Catholic Church in order to obtain a Divorce from Catherine of Aragon. He subsequently formed the Church of England with himself as the head. Mary I was staunchly Catholic, and is infamous for executing protestant sympathizers. Similarly, Isabella I of Spain held the title of Servant of God, and began the Spanish Inquisition (for religious purity). Louis XIV of France remained staunchly Catholic until being executed by the French Revolution, and Charlemagne was the first Holy Roman Emperor.

Example Question #3 : Religions 1450 To 1750

Name the Author of the 95 Theses. These were a list of accusations against the Roman Catholic Church, including the sale of indulgences, licenses to sin.

Possible Answers:

Miguel de Servitas

John Hobbes

Martin Luther

John Calvin

John Luther

Correct answer:

Martin Luther

Explanation:

Martin Luther began the reform movement that would become known as Protestantism by penning his 95 Theses. There is no historical evidence that he posted them publicly on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, but instead included them in a letter to Archbishop Albert of Mainz.

Example Question #1 : Religions 1450 To 1750

Select the single most influential factor that led to the Catholic Church’s fall from dominance during the early Renaissance.

Possible Answers:

Increased popularity of secular education

The popularization of governmental bureaucracy

The rise of nationalism

None of these

Growing preference for lay administrators

Correct answer:

The rise of nationalism

Explanation:

The opening years of the Renaissance coincided with a period in which the Catholic Church progressively fell from the position of near-absolute dominance which it had long exercised over much of Western Europe. This trend first emerged as a result of several events that occurred in the late Middle Ages – as the memory of the Black Death’s devastation receded, and was replaced with the horrific ravages of Europe’s many wars (especially the destruction wrought by the Hundred Years’ War), many individuals began to see the Church as less of a mainstay. Rather, the growing influence of national armies and international and/or inter-regional conflict promoted the birth of nationalist sentiment among the population. Increasingly, citizens from all societal classes came to view national loyalty and pride as a quite natural and important expression of allegiance, which in turn caused loyalty to the Church to correspondingly decline. After all, the Church taken sides throughout many of these wars as well, which many individuals regarded as unnecessary clerical meddling at best or even unwarranted papal posturing at worst. The deep transformations wrought by the Renaissance furthered this trend, as humanist scholars guided their students away from Church teachings in favor of more secularized and widely varied courses of study. These humanist students and scholars helped engender an entirely new breed of intellectuals, who began to serve as government administrators and officials, increasingly replacing the members of the clergy who once had filled these posts.

Example Question #5 : Religions 1450 To 1750

Which of the following is not one of the changes brought by the Protestant Reformation to social and religious life in Western European cities?

Possible Answers:

None of these

Members of the Protestant clergy were made subject to the same laws and taxes as other segments of society

Church services began to popularize the use of the vernacular rather than Latin

The number of Catholic churches, monasteries, and nunneries sharply declined

Most converts to Protestantism permanently shed all Catholic ties

Correct answer:

Most converts to Protestantism permanently shed all Catholic ties

Explanation:

While it is indeed true that the Protestant Reformation made a great many changes to Western European society, the overall status quo remained the same. Although the top power players switched – the Catholic Church lost dominance to Protestantism – little else of the power structure was altered; the monarchy, the aristocracy, and the rich still indomitably reigned. Still, this is not to say that many important alterations to the underlying social order did not take place. As Protestantism gained more and more converts, the number of Catholic churches, monasteries, and nunneries in operation declined sharply. As more secular individuals gained administrative positions, the new members of the Protestant clergy weren’t permitted the same exceptions to the rules that Catholic clergy members once enjoyed. This meant that Protestant clergy were made subject to the same laws and taxes as everyone else; they were no longer immune from prosecution or from taxation. The rate of conversion, however, didn’t hold – by the end of the sixteenth century, more than half of the overall number of people who had converted to Protestantism left their new faith and returned to Catholicism.

Example Question #2 : Religions 1450 To 1750

Select the country that was known as the most religiously tolerant nation in 17th and 18th century Europe.

Possible Answers:

Scotland

Poland

The United Provinces of the Netherlands 

Sweden

England 

Correct answer:

The United Provinces of the Netherlands 

Explanation:

A few seventeenth and eighteenth century European countries professed to be tolerant of many religions but this claim was usually imperfect – if not entirely false – in practice. Generally speaking, the most religiously tolerant country during this era was the United Provinces of the Netherlands. The nation’s government and seven provinces all made a determined effort to respect the rights of various worshippers, a mindset that was perhaps influenced by the violent religious wars of the preceding century. The official national religion was the Calvinist Reformed Church but it was not established and membership was not forced or made a condition of citizenship. Significant portions of the population were Protestants who fell outside the realm of Calvinism, such as the Lutherans. Roman Catholicism was also widely and freely practiced and many Jews came from all across the continent to seek Dutch citizenship and to escape persecution in their homelands. By and large, all these religious groups lived and worked together peacefully within the Netherlands, a reality which stands in stark contrast to the religious conflicts which still frequently rocked most of Europe.

Example Question #7 : Religions 1450 To 1750

Select the country in which the Protestant Reformation first began.

Possible Answers:

Denmark 

Switzerland 

France 

Norway 

Germany 

Correct answer:

Germany 

Explanation:

Historians have been able to pinpoint regions of the country known today as Germany as the starting location for the Protestant Reformation. Especially conducive to the Reformation’s outbreak were the imperial cities located throughout the Germanic region, such as Saxony. At the time, there existed sixty-five imperial cities in total, each operating as a free and independent body, answerable only to itself. As a result of such freedoms, the residents of these cities were already accustomed to governing their own political, economic, and social affairs, and so religious changes were received by many of the citizens as similarly natural – in other words, just another matter to assess and alter if required. Naturally (given their propensity for freedom), not all of these cities remained Protestant – many reverted back to versions of Catholicism, while others adopted a denominationally diverse lifestyle, with some residents living as Protestants and others as practicing Catholics. Most towns quickly came to adopt a culture of religious toleration, in which public preaching, argumentation, and attempts at conversion were deeply discouraged; this helped to keep the public peace in a great many cases.

Example Question #8 : Religions 1450 To 1750

Which segment of European society would have been most unlikely to join/support the Protestant Reformation?

Possible Answers:

The nobility/aristocracy

Traditionally anti-government guilds

Peasants and village residents

Socially-mobile guilds

Individuals who had been targets of institutional oppression

Correct answer:

The nobility/aristocracy

Explanation:

Generally speaking, the Protestant Reformation, with its politically expansionist as well as its religiously transformative tones, appealed to segments of society who were either socially disadvantaged and/or desirous of greater social and economic mobility. Village residents and the peasantry, as the most impoverished group, were naturally drawn to the Reformation’s urgings, as were other individuals who had found themselves targeted by the state (such as political dissidents or residents who were under the control of an autocratic local ruler). The Reformation also received a great deal of support from guild members, particularly those who had experienced some financial gains and wanted this to ensure that this personal growth would continue. For the most part, these conditions meant that groups such as the aristocracy and the wealthy business class were largely immune to the Reformation’s charms, as they were already in an advantageous position, both financially and socially, and therefore regarded the notion of any sort of change as a potential threat to their prosperity.

Example Question #9 : Religions 1450 To 1750

Select the central aim of the majority of Western European lay religious movements in the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries.

Possible Answers:

None of these

Institutional inclusion of women

Hermetic single-sex cloistering

Greater doctrinal detail

Practical simplicity as inspired by Jesus

Correct answer:

Practical simplicity as inspired by Jesus

Explanation:

In the years from the thirteenth into the fifteenth centuries, Western Europe saw the localized and/or regional rise of many lay religious movements. These developments were entirely conceived, implemented, and managed by secular individuals and were especially common in urban areas, where access to multiple sources of information (helped along by the printing press and expanding trade routes) encouraged free-thinking and experimentation. Several of these groups amassed rather substantially-sized followings – the Hussites, Waldensians, Beguines, and Lollards, for example. While of course these groups were all quite different, it is true that a definite majority shared a common central goal – they desired to return to what they saw as the simple religious practices put in place by Jesus and his original apostles. These individuals regarded the Catholic Church as a far too doctrinally and practically complex realm, one in which ritual outweighed belief. To solve this problem, many believed that the only true solution was a return to a more individualized, ascetic religious experience, one devoid of all the material trappings of Catholicism. Especially enshrined by such movements was the notion of equal and reciprocal exchange amongst religious leaders and the lay population, so that each church member, regardless of their official clerical or social status, was able to have their say and direct their own religious practices.

Example Question #10 : Religions 1450 To 1750

Select the religious/doctrinal issue on which Martin Luther and the Catholic Church most radically differed.

Possible Answers:

The exclusion of women from the priesthood 

The Pope's proper political role 

The divinity of Jesus 

The papal system of taxation 

Salvation 

Correct answer:

Salvation 

Explanation:

As perhaps the most important – and certainly one of the most outspoken - figures in the entirety of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther differed quite sharply from established Catholic Church teachings in a great many areas. A man of deep passions, Luther boldly criticized Church policies and doctrine at every turn, both verbally and in print. He attacked the Church most frequently over the issue of salvation, a doctrinal matter which both he and the Church viewed as being of the utmost importance. Luther was sharply critical over the Church’s definition of salvation as a two-part concept – one half bestowed by God and the other earned through good works (such as charity work) during a person’s time on Earth. According to Luther, this was a pernicious misinterpretation on the Church’s part, one that encouraged Catholics to engage in good works as a rote obligation, done out of duty rather than care and compassion for their fellow man. Such an attitude, Luther argued was not conducive to salvation, or indeed true Christianity, at all. Rather, Luther described salvation as an entirely God-given gift, which couldn’t be “bought” through contractual acts of good deeds.

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