A huge role in the formation of the modern middle class in Western Europe was played by free citizens. The main engine of reforms in the Middle Ages were people living in large settlements, each of which called itself a "burgher". This word later became a universal symbol of free and secured people living in European cities.
Burgers in the early Middle Ages
In the early Middle Ages, a burgher is a resident of a fortified settlement or living next to a cathedral or a church. In those dashing times, churches and churches served not only for worship, but also played the role of the safest place during raids, wars and natural disasters. Churches and temples were strengthened for greater security, and those who sought protection within their walls were themselves becoming protectors of the sacred place, so the meaning of the word "burgher" was gradually transformed - from an ordinary resident of a fortified settlement, he becomes his protector.
Burger in the High Middle Ages
Since the thirteenth century, the concept of burgherism has spread to all the cities of northern and central Europe. The concept of "burgher" now invests an entirely different meaning. The Burger is a member of an economically independent civil estate; A citizen taking part in the management of his city and even the state. Burgertum unites a middle class society representing the interests of free citizens, traders, craftsmen. The burgher, as a free man, is opposed to a vassal - a dependent person. With the expansion of trade ties, more cities received city (Magdeburg) law - and, therefore, a greater number of citizens had the right to call themselves burghers. They did not belong to the plebeian mass, nor to the ancient noble families. Basically this nascent middle class could become an organized opposition to medieval feudalism and the church.
Confrontation of the Church
Under feudalism, the main goal that the burgher posed for him is the privileges and liberties of his native city, participation in local self-government. In addition, the burghers directed their protests against lavish and ceremonial Catholic rites. The Burghers, like the bourgeoisie, sought a simple, cheap church with divine services in understandable language. Discontent with the Catholicism of the broad masses of the educated urban population and was the reason for the appearance of the famous "95 theses" of Martin Luther. Thus emerged a Protestant / Lutheran / current in the Christian church.
The movement of the Reformation with the subsequent emergence of the Lutheran church would have been impossible without the participation of burghers. The bourgeoisie gave rise to the bourgeoisie - the third class. Since the XIII century, who are such burghers, the best known are the monuments of art and architecture, perfectly preserved in numerous German cities. Sponsors and benefactors of scientists, writers and artists, they left a deep mark in history thanks to their support of the outstanding masters of their time.