Front Page Titles (by Subject) 58.: On Zwingli's Later Period - Judgments on History and Historians
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58.: On Zwingli’s Later Period - Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History and Historians 
Judgments on History and Historians, ed. Alberto R. Coll (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
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On Zwingli’s Later Period
The Reformation brought on a time in which people felt much closer to their coreligionists than to their compatriots.
Even before that, headlong political action and unscrupulous methods had become general practices.
Added to this was the opinion of Zwingli and many contemporaries that through the toleration of a situation not in keeping with their metaphysical concepts the wrath of God was incurred on the whole country. (Was this opinion genuine with Zwingli? It might have been his own wrath.)
In this there was a basic difference from Luther, who might have been saying generally, “The world will not exist that long!” and who took no responsibility for what the mighty of this world were doing, admitting the wrath of God as a permanent scourge. Zwingli, on the contrary, considered himself religiously and politically responsible for the whole situation (or had talked his way into it).
Our assumption of high treason through foreign partial alliances in that period is an erroneous one. The contemporaries on both sides did not feel that way.
It was impossible in that period to operate with numbers of people; Zwingli “believed” that the poor people in the five cantons of the Catholic interior of Switzerland were suppressed only by the powerful.
In Bern the government certainly made the decisions in the main, for the enormous mass of country folk would surely have remained Catholic and the highlands dared an insurrection because of that. Were things very different even in the common prefectures? At least in the Thurgau and in other places where later they let compulsion cease, after the second battle of Kappel, Catholicism appeared again, partly of itself.
And when it was a question of war, Zwingli looked its conditions straight in the face and proposed the methods then in universal use, as early as in the Memorial of 1526, much like an imperial field commander.
His political machinations, too, were essentially determined by the goal.
He was an optimist and wanted to establish new conditions for all times. His clear intellect told him, even without specific historical knowledge, that every single founder of power who achieved something thought the same way.
What proved to be his undoing was his imagination, which to the last deluded him into thinking that he could sweep Bern along. He had particular hopes of this because after 1528 Bern was seriously estranged from the five cantons through the participation of Unterwalden in the revolution of the highlands. But here he faced a wall. Bern wanted primarily to secure its inherited exercise of power under all circumstances, and it cared more deeply for this than for all theology. Politically it acted entirely in its interest for a long time, as it was accustomed to doing. In the wake of the Zwinglian revolution it would have lost its primacy.
It was a good thing that Switzerland at least took care of its own disputes without the intervention of nearby foreign aid on both sides.
It was naive of Zwingli to discountenance very sharply any more masses in the canton of Zurich, but to demand of the five cantons in their own areas tolerance for the “Word of God.” This shows that the statesman was carried away by the metaphysician.