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• sending justices of the peace into the various counties to hear cases and “dispense justice in the name of the king”
• creating the advisory Royal Council, made up mostly of the gentry
Henry VII also used the Court of the Star Chamber to control the actions of irresponsible nobility. Named for the pattern of stars on the ceiling of the room, the Star Chamber was an English law court created in the late 15th century. It was run by advisors to the monarch and judges. When created, its purpose was to hear cases against wealthy and powerful individuals whom regular courts might have been unwilling to convict. It gradually changed into an appeals court, or courts that could overturn decisions of lower courts. Appeals courts are an important part of the judicial system for most countries today.
However, the Star Chamber became increasingly powerful and subject to political influence. It used its unchecked power to oppress social and political enemies without any real trial. Friends of the monarch were encouraged to bypass lower courts to receive a favorable judgment from the Star Chamber. The body was disbanded in 1640. People still use the term star chamber today. Now it refers to secretive, upper-level government meetings in which powerful people act without considering what is just or fair.
German Territories and the Peace of Augsburg The Holy Roman Empire came into existence in 800 C.E. By the 16th century, it was a collection of kingdoms, principalities, and cities that occupied a large portion of Central Europe, as well as parts of modern-day Italy. A meeting in 1530, known as the Diet of Augsburg (diet meaning a formal meeting) was held to try to settle differences between Catholic and Protestant regions of the Holy Roman Empire—which was then ruled by Charles V of the Austrian Habsburg family. The result instead was that Protestants were given a deadline for returning to Catholicism. As a result, Protestant princes and cities formed a defensive alliance called the Schmalkaldic League.
This Protestant league was tolerated for years by Charles for fear that any move against it would push the territories (and their armies) into an alliance with France, with which the Holy Roman Empire was at war. When Charles was able to gain the upper hand against France, he moved against the Schmalkaldic League, defeating it in battle in 1547. In spite of this victory, Charles found that he was unable to force Catholicism on his Protestant subjects. In 1555, the Augsburg settlement, also called the Peace of Augsburg, was agreed. It allowed individual rulers to choose whether their subjects would practice the Lutheran or the Roman Catholic form of Christianity.
Merchants, Lawyers, and Nobles Increase Power
During the rule of the Holy Roman Empire, the Catholic Church was the main influence on daily life because it controlled so much wealth. For example, it had enough money to commission artwork, which is why so much of the art produced before the Renaissance was religious art. Innovations in banking and finance helped create urban financial centers and a money economy. In other

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