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Principal Causes of the Peasant Uprisings

During the medieval period, there were numerous peasant uprisings in Europe. These uprisings differed in one way or the other but shared some commonalities in what caused the uprising. In Flanders, the peasant uprising was caused by the excessive taxation that was being levied on the peasants by Count Louis I and those of pro-French policies. These new tax policies made it extremely hard for the peasants to survive, forcing an uprising in 1323 that lasted five years. The English peasant revolt took place around 1381 after King Edward III attempted to enforce a new poll tax. England had initially enforced increased taxes to fund military activities, and the new poll tax could undermine the wages of peasants. The peasants stormed London demanding certain ministers’ dismissal and a poll tax change. The uprising collapsed due to failed negotiations, and the new poll tax was enforced (Cohn Jr 72).

The German peasant uprising was one of the most popular uprisings in Europe. The protestant reformation caused the rebellion, which taught the peasants that all people were equal before God. The teachings of the Protestant Reformation led to further demands for inclusion in leadership. The peasants felt that they were equal to their masters and demanded inclusion in governance through protests and uprisings. The Swiss peasant war was agitated by the demand for fiscal relief. The ruling authorities had taken measures to devalue the money and increase taxes, which made life unbearable. It led to an uprising demanding changes that could provide some relief as well as readjust taxes. Peasants caused all these uprisings in Europe in retaliation for new tax policies that made their lives unbearable (Bak 36).

Works Cited

Bak, Janos. The German peasant war of 1525. No. 3. Routledge, 2013.

Cohn Jr, Samuel K., and Douglas Aiton. Popular protest in late medieval English towns. Cambridge University Press, 2013.



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