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Peasants’ Revolt

1524-25. German revolutionary mass movement. Unrest had spread among German peasants because the territorial princes ignored their customary rights and introduced new taxes. After vainly looking to a reformed and strengthened empire for justice, some engaged in sporadic violence (Bundschuh movement, 1502-17). Luther's theological views and attacks on greedy princes, merchants, and clergy, although misunderstood by the peasant leaders, helped to ignite the uprising. It broke out at Stühlingen (Black Forest) in June 1524 and spread rapidly over southern and central Germany until by late April 1525 some 300,000 peasants were under arms. Their program, Twelve Articles of the Peasantry, called for: congregational election of pastors, modification of tithes, abolition of serfdom, discontinuing enclosure of common lands, elimination of feudal dues, and reforming the administration of justice. Although some knights participated (Götz von Berlichingen and Florian Geyer), the peasants generally