Born in 1509, Protestant Reformer John Calvin was educated in the so-called humanistic Renaissance fashion. Calvin was taught philosophy, law, and the arts. Through his education, Calvin learned to value the individual and the works of mankind. This humanistic background laid the basis for Calvin's belief that the people, the individual, and not merely the kings and bishops, should have a share in political and religious policy making. By Calvin's beliefs, the Roman Catholic Church violated the individual's rights. Because of this, Calvin declared himself a Protestant in 1533, taking part in the Protestant crusade to reform the Church and following leading Protestant Martin Luther.
Dictating much of Christian social ethics, Calvin was responsible for the pattern of church government known as Presbyterianism. Presbyterianism organized a distinct church government independent of civil government, in order to allow church officials to work for social reform.
John Calvin is responsible also for the Protestant philosophy known as Calvinism. Calvinists believe in the right of the individual and his or her right to poltical and religious self determination. Several sects of Calvinism evolved. French Calvinists were known as Huguenots, English Calvinsits as Puritans. The Puritans contributed their hard work as American immigrants with the Puritan work ethic. Puritans believed that an individual was bound by their own integrity to work their hardest to contribute to society.