Was the Spanish Inquisition Politically, Socially, or Religiously Motivated

Provide a 2 pages analysis while answering the following question: Was the Spanish Inquisition Politically, Socially, or Religiously Motivated. Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide. An abstract is required. Your Full Your 30 April Was the Spanish Inquisition Politically, Socially, or Religiously Motivated?

The Spanish Inquisition started in 1478 by the Catholic monarchs of Spain, Ferdinand II and Isabella I, by the promulgation of the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition. It was not officially abolished till 1834. As a result of the said Inquisition, many people had their properties confiscated, and were tortured, maimed and even murdered, all in the name of religion. It was an effort on the part of the monarchs to ensure that Christianity became the only religion in their kingdom. Thereby not only were the Jews and Muslims living within the Spanish realm forced to convert to Christianity on pain of death, but it was ensured that the new converts stuck to the orthodox beliefs and did not revert to their “pagan” ways of before.

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But just what was the real motivation behind the Inquisition has been a topic of debate for many over the years. The various possible motivations include political, socio-economic, and, of course, religious.

According to those who put forward the political motivation theory, the main reason behind the introduction of Inquisition was that the monarchs wanted to increase their political authority throughout Spain and ensure that their writ was followed. Thus, they ensured, through torture or a threat thereof, that their political authority was established.

The religious motivations of the Inquisition are apparent even to the untrained eye: the monarchs, through the Inquisition tribunal, wanted to make sure that the Catholic religion spread throughout their kingdom. That is why not only did they torture and blackmail Muslims and Jews into converting to Christianity, but also ensured that no heresy was committed by these new converts, or conversos as they were called. Most of those tortured and killed by the Inquisition were Jews. Kamen states, for instance, that 99.3% of those judged in Barcelona from 1484 to 1505 were Jewish (60), albeit many Muslim converts, or moriscos, were also accused and in Granada, from 1560 to 1571, around 82% of the accused were moriscos (Kamen 217).

Interestingly, a third theory that is put forward states that the religious fervor was just a front for the Catholic state to take away the status and wealth of the non-Christians, who had strong social and economic statuses.. It is opined that the non-Christians were not looked upon favorably and their loyalties were also suspect, and that is why they were first forced to convert and then, due to further suspicion, had to have their properties confiscated by the state.

From what has been gathered so far, it seems pretty evident, that despite what is said to the contrary, one of the main reasons, if not the only reason, for the Inquisition was religious fervor. The Spanish Queen was convinced by a friar about the presence of hidden Judaist practices in the conversos, thereby laying the ground for the Inquisition tribunal. The fact that not even Jews and Muslims, but also Protestants were targeted by the tribunal shows that it was Catholic intolerance that spawned the Inquisition. The Inquisitors, by torturing and killing, were saving the souls of these damned beings, or so they thought. All this points towards there being a clear religious motivation behind the Spanish Inquisition.

Works Cited

“converso.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2008. Merriam-Webster Online. Web. 30 Apr. 2010.

Kamen, Henry. The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998. Print.

“morisco.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2008. Merriam-Webster Online. Web. 30 Apr. 2010.

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