Protestantism and the Counter-reformation
The political situation in Switzerland was similar to that in the Holy Roman Empire, of which it had formerly been a part, in that there was no central authority capable of enforcing a religious settlement uniformly among the separate cantons. Moreover, the cantons differed greatly in their character and outlook. Zurich, Berne and Basle were relatively prosperous city-states, in complete contrast to the forest cantons of Uri, Schwyz, Unterwaiden, Zug, Glarus and Appenzel, while Lucerne, Freiburg, Solothurn and Scharfhausen were essentially communities of peasant farmers grouped around small market towns. As a result, the Diet of the Confederation passed resolutions rather than laws, and each canton remained sovereign in matters affecting its own inhabitants.
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