Martin Luther posting his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany.

How did the Protestant Reformation impact Europe?

Furthermore, help lead to Scientific Development and political freedom?

Mr. Cruz


Societies that are open to examining ideas and finding ways to incorporate rules or principles of truth are the ones that make the most technological advances.   By breaking the power, the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church held over every aspect of life in Europe, the Protestant Reformation revolutionized individual responsibility and thinking.  This focus on the individual's responsibility to analyze a text or evidence (in Luther's case, the Bible) for himself (rather than have it interpreted to him by the Roman Catholic Church) enabled the freedom of thinking and evidence-based mindset that led to the Scientific Revolution.   More political freedom also resulted from the breakup of the centralized power of the Roman Catholic Church.  Empowered to inquire freely and exercise the responsibility to analyze a standard for truth (the Bible) and develop the political structure that best meet their needs, set the stage for the development of republican government (the rule of law).


You are a historian analyzing the effects of the Protestant Reformation on the technological development of Western Europe.   You will be writing a book about the social problems during the pre-Reformation period when the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church exercised power over political and social life and religious issues.   You aim to help students understand how the Protestant Reformation addressed these social problems and how these new policies set the stage for the Scientific Revolution and the development of a republican government, a government of the people based on the rule of law.



  Go to the websites and answer the questions assigned to your group.    When you have answered, these questions write a summary of your findings.   Construct your historical analysis citing the documents.   Explain how Luther's or the Roman Catholic Church's policy affected scientific inquiry and political freedom.   You will then share this analysis with the class.   Each group must take notes on the other group's findings to write a final analysis showing how the policies put into place by the Protestant Reformation led to more significant scientific development and political freedom.



Define scientific method.   Compare the scientific method and the primary source documents related to the Protestant Reformation (quotes from Luther, etc.).   This comparison shows how the Protestant reformation set the thinking and evidence-based freedom of inquiry that leads to scientific and technological discovery.   How did the policies of the Roman Catholic Church stifle such inquiry?  How did the Scientific Revolution undermine the authority of the Roman Catholic Church?  How did the Roman Catholic Church react to the Protestant Reformation?   Did the Church make genuine reforms, or were its "reforms" merely cosmetic, changes of style but not addressing the substance (doctrinal issues)?   How did the Church react to the discoveries of the Scientific Revolution?  How does the attitude toward government in the Declaration of Independence reflect the values of the Protestant Reformation? 




 In groups of four, analyze the documents assigned to your group and answer the questions related to those documents.  Then write a summary of your findings in essay form, using the task questions as a guide for content.  Your group will then present its results to the whole class.  You will be responsible for and tested on the results the whole class develops.

To complete your analysis and conclusion:

A.  Research the websites.

B.  Scan the documents and quote specific sections of the documents, and make your responses on a Google Document   

C.  Use the 6-step public policy approach:


1.        Define and describe the problem (social conditions, players, public policy)

a.      What was the policy of Luther?   

b.     What was the policy of the Roman Catholic Church?

2.         Gather evidence for this problem.  (Use documents)

3.         Identify causes for this problem.    (Compare the ideas in the documents.)

4.         Describe and evaluate the existing policy for this problem.  (Roman Catholic

         Church's policy)

5.         Develop solutions/policies for the problems of this policy.  (Luther's solution,

             Roman Catholic Church's solution.)

6.      Select the best policy for this problem.  


D.  Complete the six worksheets.

E.  Construct your historical analysis citing the documents.   Explain how.

     Luther's or the Roman Catholic Church's policy affected scientific inquiry.

     And political freedom.  





The Counter-Reformation/Council of Trent





 The Scientific Revolution








Each group will be graded according to the following simple table:



Needs improvement











Completion of Worksheets (understood the social problem, its causes, and public policy that arose from it)





Completion of Analysis (analyzed the social problem, created, and considered possible solutions, and evaluated the historical solution)





Oral Presentation

(communicated facts and ideas clearly from the documents, and showed how they applied to each step in the public policy process)








At the end of this project, you should demonstrate (through your analysis and oral presentations) an understanding of how the personal freedom and responsibility to analyze evidence brought about by the Protestant Reformation contributed to the technological and political advancement of Europe and the beginning of the European Enlightenment.  You should also be familiar with the main events and significant figures of this turning point in global history.  In addition, you should be able to make connections to the world today.



Curriculum Standards:

9-10 RH. 1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.

9-10 RH. 2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop throughout the text.

9-10 RH 3 Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or preceded them.

9-10 RH. 4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.

9-10 RH. 6 Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their resp

9-10 WKST. 1 Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content. Introduce precise claims, distinguish the claim from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes transparent relationships among the claims, counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

9-10. WHST 4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.