Martin Luther King Jr

Powerful Essays
A Discussion and Analysis Of some of his Contributions As Well as their Social, Political and Economic Impacts Since the Thirteen Colonies first united, the United States has had one of the strongest economies in the world. Over the years, many theorists have had varying opinions concerning the reason for this nation's strong economic standing. One reason that has often been overlooked is that a great many of this nation's workers have been influenced by the Protestant work ethic. The philosophy behind this work ethic has driven many workers to attain as much as possible at their jobs during their lifetimes. If one man were to be given credit for the development of the Protestant work ethic it would have to be Martin Luther. In the course of the next several pages this researcher will examine the ethic that has had such a great impact on the United State's economy and on the economies of other nations. It has been suggested by such writers as Weber and Smith that the Protestant work ethic first developed around the word "calling." Basically, this term has a religious connotation which is a task set by God. However, gradually this term was expanded to the point where it covered many of man's activities. During the Protestant Reformation, the term "calling" started to take on a new meaning. Fulfilling one's duty in worldly affairs became a task of extreme importance. gradually, fulfilling one's duty was not only important but it became the moral obligation of every individual (the highest form of moral activity). Before the Reformation, the Catholic Church did not believe that everyday world activities had a religious significance. As a result of Luther these world activities were quite important in adhering to God's wishes. Rather than devote one's life to worshipping God through prayer, and instead of sacrificing all worldly goods to follow Christ, the Protestants believed that the task of every person is to fulfill (to the best of his/her ability) their tasks on earth. This unique conception of the word "calling" was developed by Luther during his first active decade as a reformer. At first he believed, like many other theologians, that everyday world activities were activities of the flesh. Although these activities were willed by God, they were nonetheless morally neutral. However, gradually Luther began to protest against ...

... middle of paper ...

...ry citizenship to the patrician class was relatively easy, however, can be seen by the situation in Nuremberg, where in 1511 only 57 honorable families had been represented among the hundred and eighty listed in 1390. In Augsburg, some of the new patricians came from the artisan class, including the Fuggers and Hochstetters. After 1500, however when the medieval cities started to decline, the status of the patricians became much less flexible. BIBLIOGRAPHYAtkinson, James. Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. (Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1968).Richard L. DeMolen. The Meaning of the Reformation. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1974).Arthur Dickens, Martin Luther and the Reformation. (London: Oxford University Press, 1967).Richard Marius, Luther. (New York: Erdicott Press, 1973).Olin, John C. Luther, Erasmus and the Reformation. (New York: Fordham University Press, 1969).Parsons, Talcott. The Theory of Social and Economic Organization. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1947).Thompson, Craig. Christian Humanism and the Reformation. (New York: Macmillan and Co., 1965).Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. (New York: Charles Scribner and Sons, 1958).
Get Access