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Restitution, Edict of


Proclamation of ferdinand ii (161937), Mar. 6, 1629, apex of imperial power and Catholic reaction during the thirty years' war. Following the defeat of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, and the failure of Danish intervention in the struggle between the Hapsburgs and the Protestant Union, Emperor Ferdinand II seized the opportunity to restore Catholic influence and strengthen Hapsburg control throughout the Holy Roman Empire. Without consulting the imperial diet (Reichstag), Ferdinand issued an edict nullifying the alienation of all church lands since the Convention of Passau in 1552, calling for restitution to their rightful owners. The emperor also authorized the new proprietors to expel all those who would not embrace the religious preference of the ruler of the territory, thus reaffirming the principle of cujus regio ejus religio. All Protestant sects except Lutherans of the augsburg confession (1530) were outlawed, especially that of the Calvinists. Ferdinand's unconstitutional decree relaxed Protestant control of the archbishoprics of Magdeburg and Bremen; the bishoprics of Minden, Verden, Halberstadt, Lübeck, Merseburg, Naumburg (these last three, however, were retained by the Elector of Saxony), Brandenburg, Havelberg, Lebus, and Kammin; and many monasteries and smaller foundations. Enforced by imperial commissioners from whom there was no appeal, the decree expelled thousands of peaceful citizens from their homes. The edict also stiffened Protestant resistance and encouraged Swedish intervention against Hapsburg religious and absolutist policies.

Bibliography: c. v. wedgwood, The Thirty Years' War (New Haven 1939). c. j. friedrich, The Age of the Baroque, 16101660 (New York 1952). k. repgen, LexThK2 8:125758.

[p. s. mcgarry]

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