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Alt.history Challenge - No Reformation, Does The Industrial Revolution Happen?


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All I'm taking away from your examples, Stuart, is a church that could "delay the inevitable" - not one that was in total control of science. That Galileo was prosecuted by the church for championing the heliocentric world model is a popular but nevertheless contested reading of historical sources. Church and pope never acted against Galilei while he championed the heliocentric model as mathematically easier to handle, and as a useful MODEL for e.g. navigational purposes.

(Let's not forget that the Copernician model wasn't without flaws since the planets demonstrably didn't have precisely circular orbits, but elliptical ones; as long as that wasn't understood and accepted (Kepler's model) it was just as wrong as the Ptolemaic model which needed more and more epicycles to still conform to observated data, so Galilei did not have the facts on his side.)

Only when Galileo made the claim that the heliocentric model wasn't just a model but reality, and that this had implications on theology as well (IOW, that the Pope and the churche's official teachings were, in essence, heresy) the churched moved on him (and understandably so, since he now attacked them on their home turf).

 

Be it as it may be. The church never had total control over all universities, all teachings, and was in a losing battle to control the printing press as a medium. So they could not have put the lid on everything that scientists would discover which would eventually lead to the industrial revolution.

 

I think I already said that, that the industrial revolution would have happened, but would have been delayed. Much delayed? Well who else was placed to pick it up?. Venice MIGHT have been a good starting point, but it had no land. Who else was waiting in the wings, sat on a mounting of coal, with a rich upper and middle class, with a stable Government AND had an open attitude towards industrial development?

 

I think we would have had to wait for France to win under Napoleon, and maybe in the wake of that with the sweeping away of old orders, it might have kicked off. But France had limited reserves of coal, so they would have had to have secured large supplies of coal before they could have had steam locomotives. Which would have meant conquering Britain. So you are looking at maybe a good 50-100 years after the established start of the industrial revolution, in the 1750's. If you accept the Elizabethan period as I do, then its obviously a lot longer.

 

I don't believe I asserted the Church had complete control. Im suggesting if there was a fear of some technological developments or scientific discoveries, the question arises, did that have a retarding effect on people bothering to TRY and make technical developments, or working on new scientific discoveries? We know that happened all the time in Communist states, if people cant benefit from their hard work directly, what incentive is there to try?

Its an unanswerable question, the only thing that can be said is that England made technical advances leading to industrialization, and Europe didn't till much later. Its an explanation people either accept as a possibility or dont.

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It really didn't help that he called his secular monarch an idiot in print. I don't think there was anywhere in Europe at that time one could do that without getting in trouble.

 

As I understand it, Galileo's theories were not accepted in Protestant countries either.

 

Probably weren't, but clearly Newton picked up on them, and other well known European works.. It was apparently accepted when channeled through him.

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Yes, but England historically was not wealthy after it was separated from its lands in France. That most of the reason why we spent the next 200 years trying to get them back. :D

 

There was I think, 2 reasons why Henry split with Rome. Firstly, he wanted a divorce. Secondly, whether this was a primary reason, or a secondary bonus I know not, and that was land reform. The Church in England owned colossal estates, value industries, valuable metals come to that. In fact, when they demolished the abbeys, they sold them off piece by piece, and even made money back on that.

 

So after that, yes, there were lords with large estates, valuable resources, even sometimes nice homes that used to be old Abbey's. Best of all, the crown was flush with money. Now that was undoubtedly a cynical act, but in light of what came later, it may have been necessary for a large moneyed class to invest in industrial developments. For example, the canals in the UK were make by large landowners. The banks were setup by the same people. Maybe the Church would have done it, or perhaps for purely conservative reasons, they wouldn't.

 

I don't think its so easy to explain away the reformation as unnecessary. Would the crown have even had the money to invest in its colonies in North America? Probably not.

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What I took away from the infallible historical records (a.k.a. "The Tudors") was that Henry would have been perfectly fine with Catholicism if he had been granted the divorce; once that he bypassed Rome it was a power struggle where the "Land Reform" was maybe an ancillary bonus, but it was primarily about bringing the church to heel and bring it under state control.

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The church never had total control over all universities, all teachings, and was in a losing battle to control the printing press as a medium. So they could not have put the lid on everything that scientists would discover which would eventually lead to the industrial revolution.

 

I don't believe I asserted the Church had complete control.

 

Not directly, no. I took it as an implication from the phrase "holding back". Maybe that's a limitation of my knowledge of the English language, I took it as "stopped cold" and that requires total control over the scientific process, what's tolerated as "permissible science" and what's "off limits". If that's not what you meant, I suppose we're in agreement.

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You can either say it was held back, or you can say England was fitter to industrialize. It amounts to the same thing, if only because Europe lacked something we had. It might be more politically correct to say we were blessed rather than Europe was held back, but it amounts to the same thing, whatever it was.

 

No, Europe was not stopped cold, clearly there were many scientific thinkers in Europe from the Renaissance on. I just keep hearing about really interesting ideas that were developed in Europe, nobody picked up on, and they were picked by England in the Industrial revolution. For example, the steam engine. That COULD as pointed out earlier, have been developed in Europe. Instead, it remained a toy.

 

Once might be a one off, but it kept happening.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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Probably the country with less separation between Church and State was, and still is, England post Henry VIII.

The persistence of the Julian calendar in some Protestant countries after the Gregorian reform does not speak very high for an innovation environment free of religious interferences, also.

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What I took away from the infallible historical records (a.k.a. "The Tudors") was that Henry would have been perfectly fine with Catholicism if he had been granted the divorce; once that he bypassed Rome it was a power struggle where the "Land Reform" was maybe an ancillary bonus, but it was primarily about bringing the church to heel and bring it under state control.

Pretty much, in fact Henry was not at all a fan of the protestants when he first split with Rome. He still considered himself a Catholic for most of his reign. That's why I said that absent Luther, et al he probably would have been willing to accept alignment with the Eastern Church. It was much friendlier to local control.

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You can either say it was held back, or you can say England was fitter to industrialize. It amounts to the same thing, if only because Europe lacked something we had. It might be more politically correct to say we were blessed rather than Europe was held back, but it amounts to the same thing, whatever it was.

 

No, Europe was not stopped cold, clearly there were many scientific thinkers in Europe from the Renaissance on. I just keep hearing about really interesting ideas that were developed in Europe, nobody picked up on, and they were picked by England in the Industrial revolution. For example, the steam engine. That COULD as pointed out earlier, have been developed in Europe. Instead, it remained a toy.

 

Once might be a one off, but it kept happening.

 

Obviously, superpowers develop due to a happy coincidence of factors catalysed at a given moment by a war, something that happened since the Pharaoh's Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome, etc. Religion may be one of them but never the only factor. All of them at the height of their power were believed invincible by their peers and, of course, profited from divine protection according to their citizens, plus were perceived as light unto nations, etc. Yet eventually all empires come down as they overreach, as neighbours improve, as defence costs climb, etc.

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What I took away from the infallible historical records (a.k.a. "The Tudors") was that Henry would have been perfectly fine with Catholicism if he had been granted the divorce; once that he bypassed Rome it was a power struggle where the "Land Reform" was maybe an ancillary bonus, but it was primarily about bringing the church to heel and bring it under state control.

Pretty much, in fact Henry was not at all a fan of the protestants when he first split with Rome. He still considered himself a Catholic for most of his reign. That's why I said that absent Luther, et al he probably would have been willing to accept alignment with the Eastern Church. It was much friendlier to local control.

 

 

His protestantism didn't took root until he married Catherine Parr, by which time he was way past his best and she was a convinced protestant.

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Also, the Industrial Revolution was IMO somewhat inevitable in that the driving forces were the same everywhere - the need/desire to exploit mines profitably, combined with a universal groundwater problem. IOW, you absolutely needed to have a steam engine to pump water (and no Christian church whatsoever would have stopped that development as a violation of the ten commendments or so), so a steam engine would have been invented (and it was; Newcombe's was just horribly inefficient but used nevertheless - until Watt came along).

 

With the steam engine in place and the efficiency gains, profits would rise exponentially over time, and be reinvested. England got a head start because of the investor-friendly conditions but even without a reformation it would have kicked off somewhere, and the least predatory kingdom would then have reaped the efficiency gains benefits.

 

Yes, England was unique - and then it wasn't.

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A fundamental driver for the industrial revolution was first the huge improvements in farming productivity driven by enclosure (in the UK at least) - the end of feudal field structures and the development of methods that cut manpower requirements hugely. The development of improved (four field, developed in Belgium) crop rotation and the gradual improvement of livestock through selective breeding and the development by Tull of the seed drill in 1700 are examples.

 

When food production productivity rises, people can be spared from the land to work on other things. Inevitably, I feel, this leads to innovation as people have time to think, which drives scientific progress, not to mention providing labour to drive the oncoming industrialisation.

 

I took history at school, covering the period from 1760 to "the present day" - actually to about the 1930s - to age 16 and enjoyed it a lot. Inevitably, British schools concentrated almost exclusively on British development during that time, although there were outliers and the role of the Empire was very much minimised (my schooling was long before the overt spin of empire building as inherently evil, although there were hints that the likes of Cecil Rhodes may have been a bit on the naughty side).

 

Scientific development focused on British scientists such as Davy and Faraday, with the "gentlemen scientists" who were often vicars getting honourable mentions. Engineering on Trevithick, Watt and Stephenson, with Brunel not quite having the same good press (a comment about his ships were that the engines were too large because they were inefficient designs.)

 

Ignoring foreign history except where it led to conflict with Britain was easy enough - and European conflicts were easily brushed aside between the Napoleonic era and the Great War., with barely a mention of Crimea (Florence Nightingale was the focus there) and not a hint of trouble in South Africa (Although if you knew Churchill, you knew that those damned Afrikaaners were trouble makers).

 

We only knew about the Sepoy rebellion in India because of the (excellent) "Siege of Krishnapur", taught in English lessons.

 

Anyway, taught history was parochial - not simply because we're all Little Englanders, but because we were first. That makes it easy to ignore anyone else, and as children the nuances that were the ideas spilling into the UK from abroad were easy to miss or ignore.

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You can either say it was held back, or you can say England was fitter to industrialize. It amounts to the same thing, if only because Europe lacked something we had. It might be more politically correct to say we were blessed rather than Europe was held back, but it amounts to the same thing, whatever it was.

 

No, Europe was not stopped cold, clearly there were many scientific thinkers in Europe from the Renaissance on. I just keep hearing about really interesting ideas that were developed in Europe, nobody picked up on, and they were picked by England in the Industrial revolution. For example, the steam engine. That COULD as pointed out earlier, have been developed in Europe. Instead, it remained a toy.

 

Once might be a one off, but it kept happening.

 

Obviously, superpowers develop due to a happy coincidence of factors catalysed at a given moment by a war, something that happened since the Pharaoh's Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome, etc. Religion may be one of them but never the only factor. All of them at the height of their power were believed invincible by their peers and, of course, profited from divine protection according to their citizens, plus were perceived as light unto nations, etc. Yet eventually all empires come down as they overreach, as neighbours improve, as defence costs climb, etc.

 

 

No, and I may be putting undue emphasis on it. There were other reasons also why England (and latterly Britain) industrialized. But that is certainly one of them, I think anyway.

 

There was an interesting lecture I was listening to by James Burke the other day, he called them the 'axemakers' or the guys with the magic wand. He makes these points far more articulately than I ever could.

 

We overreached by taking too much, I dont think there is any doubt about that in my mind.

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What I took away from the infallible historical records (a.k.a. "The Tudors") was that Henry would have been perfectly fine with Catholicism if he had been granted the divorce; once that he bypassed Rome it was a power struggle where the "Land Reform" was maybe an ancillary bonus, but it was primarily about bringing the church to heel and bring it under state control.

Pretty much, in fact Henry was not at all a fan of the protestants when he first split with Rome. He still considered himself a Catholic for most of his reign. That's why I said that absent Luther, et al he probably would have been willing to accept alignment with the Eastern Church. It was much friendlier to local control.

 

 

His protestantism didn't took root until he married Catherine Parr, by which time he was way past his best and she was a convinced protestant.

 

 

Ive read one of the reasons why he disposed of Cromwell's service (well, more accurately disposed of Cromwell) is that he was in contact with more radical protestants on the continent than Henry felt comfortable dealing with.

 

There is no doubt Henry started off a committed Catholic. In fact there is in the royal collection a book he wrote in defence of Catholicism, and condeming the heresy of the Protestants in Europe. Which is somewhat ironic as things turned out.

 

I think there was a time, after he executed Anne, he MIGHT have reengaged with Rome, but for whatever reason that opportunity was missed.

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Probably the country with less separation between Church and State was, and still is, England post Henry VIII.

 

The persistence of the Julian calendar in some Protestant countries after the Gregorian reform does not speak very high for an innovation environment free of religious interferences, also.

 

At the start, yes. Undeniably. Im talking about the crack it put in that foundation stone, that came to fruition with the reign of Charles I. And its hard to see how the English Civil War would have kicked off if everyone in England was a loyal Catholic. Granted the man was not a gifted king, but most of the disagreements between him and parliament were religious ones over scripture reforms.

 

I was watching a documentary the other day, and Charles actually tried to use his Bishops in the lord's, to try and squash come parliamentary bills. So Parliament arrested them and executed them. The point being, from the reformation, bishops belonged to the King. Previously they would primarily owe at least part of allegiance to Rome.. And of course, being subservient to the king, when the king's power diminished, they also diminished.

 

 

If an English bishop partly owed his position to Rome, he is probably going to be, at least some of the time, inclined to side with Rome than he is the King. And as far as the marriage to Anne, that is precisely what happened. If they are going to do that on the marriage, why not on other political reforms, land reforms, or just who you want to have a war with this week?

 

So for me, the reformation removed at least one of the barriers the King had to reform England as he saw fit. And the Civil war gave the ascendency of Parliament over the King and the Bishops. And, its just a personal view, it was around that time we became secular in politics.

 

Or, more accurately, when the Protestant fundamentalists ran their course, anyway.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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(...)

There is no doubt Henry started off a committed Catholic. In fact there is in the royal collection a book he wrote in defence of Catholicism, and condeming the heresy of the Protestants in Europe. Which is somewhat ironic as things turned out.

 

(...)

Now you know why the Kings of England have that Defensor Fidei title. It was given to Henry VIII because of that book.

 

 

 

Probably the country with less separation between Church and State was, and still is, England post Henry VIII.

 

The persistence of the Julian calendar in some Protestant countries after the Gregorian reform does not speak very high for an innovation environment free of religious interferences, also.

(...)

 

It is simpler. Church of England is the State religion, and the head of that church is the king.

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(...)

There is no doubt Henry started off a committed Catholic. In fact there is in the royal collection a book he wrote in defence of Catholicism, and condeming the heresy of the Protestants in Europe. Which is somewhat ironic as things turned out.

 

(...)

Now you know why the Kings of England have that Defensor Fidei title. It was given to Henry VIII because of that book.

 

 

 

Probably the country with less separation between Church and State was, and still is, England post Henry VIII.

 

The persistence of the Julian calendar in some Protestant countries after the Gregorian reform does not speak very high for an innovation environment free of religious interferences, also.

(...)

 

It is simpler. Church of England is the State religion, and the head of that church is the king.

 

 

Yes, that im sure is right. Defender of the Faith, right?

 

Its worth mentioning Thomas Beckett here. He of course was given the Job BY Henry II, and as soon as he got it, started facing down the King and taking the Church's side on various matters of policy. I seem to recall even the Vatican was nervous about the stance he was taking, and informed him to be more pragmatic, but he did it anyway. With results we know. The interesting thing is, when the reformation happened, one of the first things they did was tear down his shrine. Almost as if one of the points they were trying to make was about Bishops being subservient to the kings will. They were essentially saying, if Beckett isnt safe, nobody is.

 

I cant comment how common it was that Bishops stood up to the monarch over policy, I suspect its rare. I know of 2 occasions off the top of my head, Beckett, and the opposition to Henry's divorce and the subsequent reformation. Id suggest that the king probably did have a freer hand after the reformation, though as said, he still was a Catholic at heart I think. It probably paid more dividends for his children. And didnt really achieve monumental change till after the Civil war.

 

But hey, that's just my view. Im sure there were many progressive bishops in Europe and England. I only question how likely it is that someone who is part of a bureaucracy is going to put outside concerns ahead of their own bureaucracy. Its not common in any other branch of service. There are exceptions of course.

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I am not sure how Orthodox Church was 'far worse' in possible societal conservatism than Catholic Church. It suffered from same problem which I mentioned, inefficient and corrupt monastic orders.

Big thing which held back Eastern Europe for centuries was serfdom. For example, not many people know that in medieval times, Estonia had about four times larger population than Finland. Then Germans introduced serfdom.

Could it be that what Is perceived by some historians as various churchs being the retardation on progress, is actually the STATE that is responsible?. And that it is actually conservative administrations that are unwilling to countenance any social reform, that are holding back the industrial process? Because that certainly seems to have been the case in Russia.

 

At least in case of Russia it had more to do with lack of state. Russia was quite decentralized and landowning class held quite a bit of power and influence. And all they were ever interested about was keeping things in same way. That is why ending of serfdom had in many places little effect on economy or position of peasants. Landowning class had made sure that any transition was accompanied by enough clauses and reservations that things were not going to change much.

 

Re: Catholicism, my very limited exposure to culture of Catholic countries is that there seems to be greater degree of fatalism sewn in in the cultural mindset. If you're fated to be poor and stuck doing things same way as your fathers and grandfathers did, then that's how it is meant to be. It is perhaps similar thing which seems to hold back Arabic societies. Something fails, it's 'Inshallah' and nobody's fault, nothing to be learned, lets proceed as usual.

However I would not be so bold to put that down on religion. It seems as every society which was very successful at some point becomes enamoured by their own greatness and gets stuck there because hey, that is what worked for us previously, right? For example, common view of England amongst the Nordics is that it's a horribly backwards country trying to live their former glory. And I have heard Chinese comment how Nordic countries seem so conservative and stuck in their old ways - which is of course completely opposite to how we perceive ourselves! But I guess we can't perceive it from here.

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I am not sure how Orthodox Church was 'far worse' in possible societal conservatism than Catholic Church. It suffered from same problem which I mentioned, inefficient and corrupt monastic orders.

Big thing which held back Eastern Europe for centuries was serfdom. For example, not many people know that in medieval times, Estonia had about four times larger population than Finland. Then Germans introduced serfdom.

Could it be that what Is perceived by some historians as various churchs being the retardation on progress, is actually the STATE that is responsible?. And that it is actually conservative administrations that are unwilling to countenance any social reform, that are holding back the industrial process? Because that certainly seems to have been the case in Russia.

 

At least in case of Russia it had more to do with lack of state. Russia was quite decentralized and landowning class held quite a bit of power and influence. And all they were ever interested about was keeping things in same way. That is why ending of serfdom had in many places little effect on economy or position of peasants. Landowning class had made sure that any transition was accompanied by enough clauses and reservations that things were not going to change much.

 

Re: Catholicism, my very limited exposure to culture of Catholic countries is that there seems to be greater degree of fatalism sewn in in the cultural mindset. If you're fated to be poor and stuck doing things same way as your fathers and grandfathers did, then that's how it is meant to be. It is perhaps similar thing which seems to hold back Arabic societies. Something fails, it's 'Inshallah' and nobody's fault, nothing to be learned, lets proceed as usual.

However I would not be so bold to put that down on religion. It seems as every society which was very successful at some point becomes enamoured by their own greatness and gets stuck there because hey, that is what worked for us previously, right? For example, common view of England amongst the Nordics is that it's a horribly backwards country trying to live their former glory. And I have heard Chinese comment how Nordic countries seem so conservative and stuck in their old ways - which is of course completely opposite to how we perceive ourselves! But I guess we can't perceive it from here.

 

 

I seem to recall reading that arose partly because of the distances involved, partly because the Russian state was so poor. Corruption arose because many state officials were on such a poor salary, it was expected they would cook the books to be able to make a living.

 

Nordic countries aren conservative, its just when you get it right once, why change? :D

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I seem to recall reading that arose partly because of the distances involved, partly because the Russian state was so poor. Corruption arose because many state officials were on such a poor salary, it was expected they would cook the books to be able to make a living.

Yes, Russia was ruled like an Empire, just like British Empire. Difference was that Russia did not have similar compact 'heartland' for the Empire like England or France. That 'heartland' was ruled in somewhat similar fashion to what say, British Crown ruled India, for example. Suited well for continuity, but not so much rapid development of technology or institutions.

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I seem to recall reading that arose partly because of the distances involved, partly because the Russian state was so poor. Corruption arose because many state officials were on such a poor salary, it was expected they would cook the books to be able to make a living.

Yes, Russia was ruled like an Empire, just like British Empire. Difference was that Russia did not have similar compact 'heartland' for the Empire like England or France. That 'heartland' was ruled in somewhat similar fashion to what say, British Crown ruled India, for example. Suited well for continuity, but not so much rapid development of technology or institutions.

 

 

The Irony is, that when America was expanding over the same period, they were increasingly bringing the newly formed states closer via the telegraph. Russia it seems to me never really saw the results of a similar process, except perhaps in Soviet times.

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I seem to recall reading that arose partly because of the distances involved, partly because the Russian state was so poor. Corruption arose because many state officials were on such a poor salary, it was expected they would cook the books to be able to make a living.

Yes, Russia was ruled like an Empire, just like British Empire. Difference was that Russia did not have similar compact 'heartland' for the Empire like England or France. That 'heartland' was ruled in somewhat similar fashion to what say, British Crown ruled India, for example. Suited well for continuity, but not so much rapid development of technology or institutions.

 

 

The Irony is, that when America was expanding over the same period, they were increasingly bringing the newly formed states closer via the telegraph. Russia it seems to me never really saw the results of a similar process, except perhaps in Soviet times.

 

 

Exactly. The industrialisation and modernization happened with soviet autocracy and the accompanying sacrifices in lifes, because they forced it hard. Didn't Lenin say something like communism is soviet power plus electrificaton or soemthing like that? Most parts of russia were technoligically somewhere in the middle ages plus the giant size of the country and distances to connect with infrastructure. And the climate of course, that slows down many things.

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