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‘The Dear Old Holy Roman Realm, How Does it Hold Together?’ Monetary Policies, Cross-cutting Cleavages and Political Cohesion in the Age of Reformation

Volckart, Oliver (2020) ‘The Dear Old Holy Roman Realm, How Does it Hold Together?’ Monetary Policies, Cross-cutting Cleavages and Political Cohesion in the Age of Reformation. German History, 38 (4). ISSN 0266-3554

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Identification Number: 10.1093/gerhis/ghaa012

Abstract

Research has rejected Leopold von Ranke’s hypothesis that the Reformation emasculated the Holy Roman Empire and thwarted the emergence of a German nation state for centuries. However, current explanations of the Empire’s cohesion that emphasize the effects of outside pressure or political rituals are not entirely satisfactory. This article contributes to a fuller explanation by examining a factor that so far has been overlooked: monetary policies. Monetary conditions within the Empire encouraged its members to cooperate with each other and with the emperor. Moreover, cross-cutting cleavages forced actors on different sides of the confessional divide to frame coherent and fact-oriented monetary-policy arguments. This helped generate trust among the estates involved in the discussions about a common currency between the 1520s and the 1550s and contributed to the success of the negotiations. Monetary policies thus helped bridge the religious divide that had opened within the Empire, and they therefore contributed to its political cohesion.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://academic.oup.com/gh
Additional Information: © 2019 The Author(s)
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DD Germany
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D901 Europe (General)
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2019 08:57
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2020 08:06
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/100466

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