May Day Riot Of 1517 Essay

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Throughout the ‘Early Modern World’, a huge variety of factors such as economic, environmental, social and political meant for a shift in culture which in turn provoked protest throughout the period. There was a common split in communities and the divide was simple; those that feared change and wanted aspects of life to stay the same and those that favoured the shift into a more modern era. Historians therefore have debated whether or not protests during this period were due to a growing sense of community, or that an expression of community was simply a by-product of other reasons for protest such as economic discontent or xenophobic attacks on foreigners. Historian Julius R. Ruff states that “a community often closed ranks in the face of …show more content…

Joseph P. Ward reinforces the immaturity and potential recklessness of the apprentices by stating that “apprentices were bridging the gap between kids and adults, adolescence” . Thus again taking weight away from the protests themselves and suggesting that they were more of a common rebellion than a serious political movement challenging for change. One must therefore reinforce the statement that the Evil
May Day Riot of 1517 was indeed due to wider factors and not primarily an expression of community. In conclusion, the protest that took place in 1517 was indeed instigated by xenophobic leaders that utilised foreign workers as scapegoats and within the protest one could argue that there were some aspects of community. Having said this, the protest was clearly a by-product of economic and social discontent that did not represent the whole community at all. A thousand apprentice labourers looting and destroying foreign worker’s property partly due to their hatred of foreign ‘aliens’ and partly due to wanting to selfishly climb the social ladder does not express the sense of community and thus, one must conclude that the May Day riot was indeed a clear product of wider

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