Front Page Titles (by Subject) 54.: The Origin of the Territorial Churches - Judgments on History and Historians
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54.: The Origin of the Territorial Churches - Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History and Historians 
Judgments on History and Historians, ed. Alberto R. Coll (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
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The Origin of the Territorial Churches
While Calvinism was creating, in Geneva, Scotland, and elsewhere, a dominion of religion over the state and a possibility of ecumenical action, such as the Synod of Dordrecht, while Zwingli in Zurich became the outright head of state and only later sects placed themselves outside the state, Luther could not or would not organize a church in Germany. He taught, wrote, and preached.
According to unchanging laws of psychology, the princes and city governments, given the way they were constituted, could not be made edifying. Despite the new dogma their morality, such as it was, remained primarily greedy for confiscation. They now created just as many individual territorial churches as there were confiscation districts; in this they often had to share with the nobility which had hitherto lived on benefices, and all these units at the same time became dogmatic districts. The people and the clergy were no longer allowed outside, so that the confiscation would not become dubious again, something that was to be feared with every deviation.
Hence the absolute intolerance toward the Catholics, and note that it was not out of fanaticism, although this was in keeping with the reformers. This is also true of Zwingli the politician, even more than of Zwingli the reformer. In addition, the princes and municipal governments endowed (miserably enough) the new church.
If one imagines the reformers without the governments, they would have caused fragmentation through dogmatic dispute which would have confused the people or made them backslide. They were incapable of attaining by themselves an Archimedean point, of raising a banner round which all might join in security.
The governments, however, were interested in stunning and habituating the masses, in decades of defenselessness. They were in a hurry to have a settled creed, and they forced the agreement of the clerics who would otherwise have continued quarreling. Their competitors, even more than the clergy’s, were Münzerism, the Baptist movement, and similar movements. This explains the even assurance with which they proceeded. The only things which kept the German Reformation alive were the confiscation and the interests attached to it; only they produced the endurance of those political forces which maintained the cause. Thus, without Luther’s wanting it, the governments became the supreme authorities of faith. He had no assurance as to the future and eternal orthodoxy of the governments and their estates, but only the hope that they would follow the advice of their theologians.
In sum: The clergy, forsaken by the people, dependent because of their marriages, had to accommodate themselves to an organization which they could not have replaced by one of their own. Catholicism, on the other hand, salvaged its organization. The territorial churches constitute the most enormous step toward state omnipotence, toward Caesaropapism. Soon there occurred a tightening of the reins, even though the consequences did not fully develop for centuries.
In England, too, there now occurred a tremendous increase in royal power. In Sweden this was actually made possible only by the Reformation.
The theory prevalent in modern times claims absolute and universal power of the state as a major aim of all existence. But power usually does not make men better and scarcely ever happier, because of their inner insatiability.
However, for the German princes, this particular increment of power (a hitherto jointly ruling class had dropped away and they had inherited its property) was a most powerful means of asserting their liberty vis-à-vis the emperor and the Empire. What if in the fifteenth century the great French vassals had possessed something like that against Louis XI? And thus Myconius is able to write Calvin from Basel in 1542 about the “pestilential dogma of the laymen: Senatus ecclesia est” [the civil government is the church].
The Lutheran governments would have protested against joint synods and all common institutions and would have prevented such things by force as an interference with their rule. No Lutheran catholicity came into being, while Calvinism had the makings of one.
In this context there belongs the extremely revealing letter from Luther to the Elector John, dated November 22, 1526.