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Undergraduate Research Journal

Abstract

The Holy Roman Empire’s history in the heart of Europe was long and turbulent, with strong leaders such as Charlemagne and Otto the Great leaving deep and lasting impressions upon the Germanic people that resided within it. During the Renaissance, like much of the rest of the continent, this period and thereafter would be marked not by a ruler but by a common man. Martin Luther, like the other thinkers of the time, questioned the status quo, analyzing his world and comparing it to the standards set forth by earlier men, in his case the early church. Despite being a religious figure, his writings would shape much more than his own relationship with God; it would forever change the Holy Roman Empire and modern Germany for better or for worse. To understand his impact on not only the religious but secular world, one must understand his role in the Protestant Reformation, his impact on German culture, and his influence on the political relationships between strata.

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