Decline of Feudalism

Decline of Feudalism

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After the killing of Wat Tyler at the end of the Peasants' Revolt, an army, led by Thomas of Woodstock, John of Gaunt's younger brother, was sent into Essex to crush the rebels. A battle between the peasants and the King's army took place near the village of Billericay on 28th June. The king's army was experienced and well-armed and the peasants were easily defeated. It is believed that over 500 peasants were killed during the battle. The remaining rebels fled to Colchester, where they tried in vain to persuade the towns-people to support them. They then fled to Huntingdon but the towns people there chased them off to Ramsey Abbey where twenty-five were slain. (1)

King Richard II with a large army began visiting the villages that had taken part in the rebellion. At each village, the people were told that no harm would come to them if they named the people in the village who had encouraged them to join the rebellion. This they agreed to do, and instructions were given for the arrest of 145 peasants. Of these, 27 came from the village of Fobbing where the revolt started.

Those people named as ringleaders were then executed. Dan Jones, the author of Summer of Blood: The Peasants' Revolt (2009) claims that peasants were killed in "their thousands... by a number of grisly and extraordinary cruel means". This did not only happen to those who took part in the rebellion. For example, John Shirley was executed for having declared in a tavern that he thought John Ball was a true and worthy man. (2)

Apparently the king stated: "Serfs you are and serfs you will remain." Parliament met in November, 1381, and one of its first acts was to pass an act of indemnity for those men who had put people to death without due form of law. (3) A. L. Morton, the author of A People's History of England (1938) has pointed out: "The promises made by the king were repudiated and the common people of England learnt, not for the last time, how unwise it was to trust to the good faith of their rulers." (4)

The king's officials were instructed to look out for John Ball. He was eventually caught in Coventry. He was taken to St Albans to stand trial. "He denied nothing, he freely admitted all the charges without regrets or apologies. He was proud to stand before them and testify to his revolutionary faith." He was sentenced to death, but William Courtenay, the Bishop of London, granted a two-day stay of execution in the hope that he could persuade Ball to repent of his treason and so save his soul. John Ball refused and he was hanged, drawn and quartered on 15th July, 1381. (5)

Although initially it failed to achieve its aim, the Peasants' Revolt was an important event in English history. For the first time, peasants had joined together in order to achieve political change. The king and his advisers could no longer afford to ignore their feelings. In 1382 a new poll tax was voted in by Parliament. This time it was decided that only the richer members of society should pay the tax. (6)

After the Peasants Revolt the lords found it very difficult to retain the feudal system. Villeinage was already crumbling due to economic and demographic pressures. (7) Labour was still in short supply and villeins continued to run away to find work as freemen. In 1390 the government attempt to keep wages at the old level was abandoned when a new Statute of Labourers Act gave the Justices of the Peace the power to fix wages for their districts in accordance with the prevailing prices. (8)

Even the villeins who stayed were much more reluctant to work on the lord's demesne. In some villages the villeins joined together and refused to carry out any more labour services. Several towns and villages saw outbreaks of violence. However, as Charles Oman has pointed out, these were "scattered and sporadic, instead of simultaneous". (9)

Unable to find enough labour to work their demesne, lords found it more profitable to lease out the land. With smaller areas to farm, the lords had less need for the labour services provided by the villeins. Lords started to "commute" these labour services. This meant that in return for a cash payment, peasants no longer had to work on the lord's demesne. During this period wages increased significantly. (10)

Charles Poulsen, the author of The English Rebels (1984) argues that in the lon-term the peasants did win: "The concept of freedom was not killed in the repression. It was nurtured and grew until it became the cornerstone of the national political structure, changing as life and circumstances changed." (11) These rebellions spread throughout Europe and similar uprisings took place in Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Finland and Switzerland. (12)

The decline in the feudal system continued for the next 200 years, and by the time of Henry VIII it "had for all intents and purposes ceased to play any great part in the rural economy". However, as late as 1574 Queen Elizabeth "found some stray villeins on royal demesne to emancipate." (13)

If any serf shall have lived unclaimed for a whole year and a day in any chartered town, so that he hath been received into the community of that town as a citizen, then that single fact shall free him from villeinage.

We must question whether the laws enforcing villeinage are conformable to the law of Christ; and it would seem that they are not: for it is written in the Bible, "The son shall not bear the injustice of the father."

Death of Wat Tyler (Answer Commentary)

Medieval Historians and John Ball (Answer Commentary)

The Peasants' Revolt (Answer Commentary)

Taxation in the Middle Ages (Answer Commentary)

Medieval and Modern Historians on King John (Answer Commentary)

King John and the Magna Carta (Answer Commentary)

Henry II: An Assessment (Answer Commentary)

Richard the Lionheart (Answer Commentary)

Christine de Pizan: A Feminist Historian (Answer Commentary)

The Growth of Female Literacy in the Middle Ages (Answer Commentary)

Women and Medieval Work (Answer Commentary)

The Medieval Village Economy (Answer Commentary)

Women and Medieval Farming (Answer Commentary)

Contemporary Accounts of the Black Death (Answer Commentary)

Disease in the 14th Century (Answer Commentary)

King Harold II and Stamford Bridge (Answer Commentary)

The Battle of Hastings (Answer Commentary)

William the Conqueror (Answer Commentary)

The Feudal System (Answer Commentary)

The Domesday Survey (Answer Commentary)

Thomas Becket and Henry II (Answer Commentary)

Why was Thomas Becket Murdered? (Answer Commentary)

Illuminated Manuscripts in the Middle Ages (Answer Commentary)

Yalding: Medieval Village Project (Differentiation)

(1) Ronald Webber, The Peasants' Revolt (1980) page 94

(2) Dan Jones, Summer of Blood: The Peasants' Revolt (2009) page 201

(3) Ronald Webber, The Peasants' Revolt (1980) page 100

(4) A. Morton, A People's History of England (1938) page 102

(5) Charles Poulsen, The English Rebels (1984) page 41

(6) Reg Groves, The Peasants' Revolt 1381 (1950) page 171

(7) Martyn Whittock, Life in the Middle Ages (2009) page 51

(8) A. Morton, A People's History of England (1938) page 102

(9) Charles Oman, The Great Revolt of 1381 (1906) page 156

(10) Rodney Hilton, Bond Men Made Free (1973) page 232

(11) Charles Poulsen, The English Rebels (1984) page 42

(12) Dan Jones, Summer of Blood: The Peasants' Revolt (2009) page 208

(13) Charles Oman, The Great Revolt of 1381 (1906) page 157

The Decline of Feudalism - 1400 CE

The feudal system that bound peasants to the land and allowed the nobles to exploit the labor of others may have gotten its start in the days of the Spartans. These fierce warriors would conquer the local territories and force the farmers to raise crops for the Spartan people. The Spartans were called Hoplites and their serfs were called helots.

Roman Emperor Constantine restricted the rights of farmers and tied them to the land a precursor to the even more rigid system that would be employed in medieval times.

When Rome fell, vicious warlords, nobles, or bands of barbaric marauders would capture territory and force the farmers or peasants to work the farm land. In other cases, the farming people would seek out nobles and then pledge their labor and crops for protection. Also, farmers would get into debt to a landlord and then could never afford to leave the land and pursue a better life.

By 1400 AD, many different factors were contributing to feudalism's decline in western Europe. The Black Death had decreased the population by possibly 50%, so there were fewer farmers to raise crops. With a shortage of farmers, nobles had to compete for and pay for farm labor. The Renaissance and the new growth of towns and cities began to offer new opportunities to the children of farmers. Due to the invention of the printing press, more people were being educated and schools were more accessible. Ship building, trade, and commerce would soon increase dramatically with the beginning of The Age of Discovery. In short, western Europe began to advance and thrive, and many more opportunities were available to the average person. Feudalism had no place in the dynamic world that had emerged.

The down side of all this advancement, and the decline of feudalism in western Europe, was the growth of this awful institution in eastern Europe. Since less people in the West were raising crops, there was a need for more grain and other crops from the East. The nobles and aristocrats of eastern Europe took advantage of the situation and forced the farming communities into bondage to the land. These nobles became very wealthy by selling the crops, grown by their serfs, to the people of western Europe. Estimates indicate, that at one time, there may have been more than 20 million serfs in Russia.

While people in western Europe were making advancements in many different fields, the people of eastern Europe, to a large extent, remained poor and impoverished.

Rome’s soldiery was famous in the world as for its strength. However, after economic losses and when the Empire was facing a fall, the legions started changing. There were not enough soldiers available to work for the native. Situations went worst that the emperors had to hire foreign soldiers to support their armies.

Moving on, the Rise of Feudalism began after declining of the Roman Empire. Feudalism is the feudal system developed in Europe back in the 9th and 15th Centuries.

It is a mixture of economic, social, political customs, and conditions. It was established in the Middle Ages social hierarchy was established based on local administrative control and the distribution of land.

Europeans took shelter in a feudal system at the time of enlarging the barbarian Invasion. It was widely spread in Europe from the 11th century. The feudal system was based on the relationship of the Lord and Vassal (slave) but it had a decline as soon as that relationship weakened. The lords accumulated wealth and estates while the vassals had to be tenants of lands.

Decline of Feudalism - History

'IN the Fourth Outline details of the Feudal System were given. Two of the intervening Outlines have been occupied with the development of trade and towns, and with information about the early traders and producers living in those towns. We have now to turn to Feudalism-which was essentially rural in its character-and endeavour to see how it was- affected, and how its decay was caused by the progress of new forces having their chief centres in the towns.

In Feudal times, the vast hierarchies of Church and State were based upon the land. Agriculture was the sole industry and production was carried on for direct consumption. The exploitation of the serf was undisguised, taking the form of services in rent and kind. Feudalism, having its origin in the domination of the fighter over the farmer, necessarily preserved, as its source of power over the agriculturist and as the only method by which it could "carry on," its military organization. Our present task is to outline the chief factors which hastened its passing. The rise of commerce, the development of handicraft and the division of labour, the evolution of the commodity (i.e., a product produced primarily for exchange) from the product produced for direct consumption-these are some of the things to which we shall briefly refer.

Commutation of Services.-The substitution of money payments or rents for the previous services and pay ments in kind rendered by the villeins and cottars to their feudal lord, plays an important part in the fall of Feudalism. We have, in previous Outlines, shown how the towns purchased their liberty from feudal dues. they arrived at independence earlier than the country and by the aid of the kings, who needed their help. against powerful barons, they procured charters of self- government. The need of kings and nobles for money was the opportunity for the towns to win their freedom and soon, by the growth of commerce, luxury increased.

The feudal lords became willing to accept money instead of services from the country-dwellers also. Adam Smith describes the process thus :- "The inhabitants of trading: cities, by importing the improved manufactures and expensive luxuries of richer countries, afforded some food to the vanity of the great proprietors, who eagerly purchased them with great quantities of the rude produce of their own lands." It is easy to see how this would pave the way for the commutation of services for the feudal lord would think to secure more luxuries by receiving definite sums of money from his feudal dependants than he would secure by the exchange of the products produced by their enforced labour upon his own demesne.

The villeins and the cottars, too, would not be opposed to this commutation of their services for they naturally connected the liberty of the townspeople with their possession of, and payments in, money, and the serfs thought to secure the same liberty for themselves. Again "the week-work" and the "boon-work" were elastic, and apt to be increased as the lord's appetite for luxuries grew. The cottar, with his small land holding and with more free time at his disposal, gradually developed into the wage-labourer, and the villein became a farmer, paying a money rent, often for stock, as well as land.

The Export of English Wool.-In dealing with the Rise of the Merchant Class and the Creation of the Proletariat in future Outlines, we shall have occasion to deal with the development of wool-growing more fully. But as early as 1236 A.D., we get examples of enclosures made for this purpose, and very soon all the waste land of the manor was claimed by the lord. Large quantities of English wool were exported in return for foreign manufactures. Later happenings, with which we shall deal, hastened this tendency to displace men by sheep and to break up the feudal relations.

Effects of War.-The strong hand of the Norman kings kept the barons in check for a while in England. In the Civil War of Stephen and Matilda, however, they became again lawless and powerful, and they exercised their feudal profession of fighting in suicidal conificts. In the latter half of the 15th century (1450-1500) in the Wars of the Roses, the barons again obligingly hastened their own extermination. The power of the towns and the king grew greater. The first Tudor monarch, Henry VII, seeking to establish himself firmly, was able to make the remaining barons disband their little armies of retainers. This created many wandering vagrants and robbers, and also increased the number of the town dwellers. Not only internal wars helped on the decay of Feudalism external wars and foreign expeditions had the same effect. The Crusades, or Wars of the Cross, which lasted for more than two centuries, beginning in 1095 A.D., are a notable example of the latter.[Prior to the Crusaders the mild rule of the Saracens had allowed Christian pilgrims to visit Jerusalem, and had allowed European merchants free access to the Eastern trade routes. The sea route to the East had not then been discovered. The coming of fanatical caliphs and the invasion of Palestine by the Turks blocked up these vital trade routes, and made pilgrimage ,difficult and unsafe. Ordinarily, the Church tried to restrain the warlike ardour of the feudal barons. On this occasion, however, they found a common cause. The feudal fighting fire languishing for an outlet in Europe, was now encouraged, or organized and dedicated by the Church to the high and noble aim ,of restoring to the Church, from the blasphemous infidels, her sacred places. The traders, especially of the Italian cities, having their sources of wealth destroyed the feudal fighters-needing more lands to conquer, and being eager to plunder the fabled wealth of the East: and the all-powerful Church, feeling that her prestige would be destroyed if the infidels' success was permanent, united and formed a strong combination. This was the foundation upon which rested the success of Peter the Hermit's eloquence, which caused peasant and prince, young and old, to rush forth to defend the Faith. As the Crusades proceeded, their economic causes became more manifest. No lasting settlements were ever made in Palestine because of the internal rivalry and jealousy of the feudal crusaders, each wishing to secure land and booty. It is not, however, our purpose to follow the various phases of the Crusades until they finally petered out in the 14th century but to notice that the Crusades and other foreign wars had the effect of weakening Feudalism, for "while princely adventurers and their turbulent followers left Europe to seek for fame and jconquest in the East, astute monarchs (and the towns) were establishing the reign of law in the West."]

Effects of New Methods of War.-New methods of war, too, played a part in the decline of Feudalism. The splendid feudal finery became obsolete in competition with trained bands of mercenaries who used at first, the long-bow, and, later, firearms. The romance of robbery disappeared when the merchants were able to secure efficient protection by engaging base-born churls. With the invention of gunpowder and its use- in the 14th and 15th centuries, armour and castle strong holds were of little avail. Brain began its triumph over brawn, and proceeded until to-day warfare is practically carried on by spectacled chemists. Engels, on p. 195 of his Landmarks in Scientific Socialism, when endeavouring to prove the economic nature of force, writes thus :-

The introduction of firearms not only produced a revolution in the methods of warfare, but also in the relations oft master and subject. Trade and money are concomitants of gunpowder and firearms, and these former imply the bourgeoisie. Fire arms from the very first were the bourgeois instruments of warfare employed on behalf of the rising monarchy against the feudal nobility. The hitherto unassailable stone castles of the nobles submitted to the cannon of the burghers, the fire of their guns pierced the mail armour of the knights. The supremacy of the nobility fell with the heavily armed cavalry of the nobility.

The Black Death.- This is one of the most important and terrible landmarks in English history. It was a calamity widespread in its devastation and fatal in its effects, for it is reckoned to have caused the death of half England's population. In dealing with other factors we have tried to show that the tendencies of the age were gradually breaking up the Feudal system. The Black Death rapidly hastened the development of these tendencies. It might well be compared in its hastening of development to the present war, which is stimulating, not introducing, the application of science and machinery and the dilution of labour, to production.

In 1316 a bad harvest caused a famine of wheat, resulting in some loss of life from starvation. After the country had recovered from this, a fairly prosperous time ensued till the coming of the pestilence in 1348. It swept through the land with such terrible effects that it threatened to wipe out all the inhabitants. "About half the entire population was swept away. No age was safe, no rank was immune, for the habits and homes of the people of all classes were then indescribably filthy but the common folk suffered most."

The economic effects of the Black Death as they helped on the decay of Feudalism concern us most. They were :-(l) A dearth of labour. The workers, suffering most from the ravages of the pestilence, were small in number. (2) A consequent rise in wages. These were double what they had been in 1347. The law of "supply and demand" operated in the labourer's favour. The landowners had either to pay the wages demanded or lose their labourers, and allow their land to go to rack and ruin. The landlords were loud in their complaints. Before Parliament met, the King issued Proclamations ordering no person, under severe penalties, to give or take higher wages than had obtained before the pestilence and when Parliament met in 1350 it passed the First Statute of Labourers confirming the King's proclamations with all its penalties.

In vain, however, did the legislative Canutes attempt to keep back the tide of economic development. The farmers had either to lose their crops or pay the high -wages demanded for their gathering and despite Acts of Parliament high wages were paid. The Black Death hit the large landowner the hardest because the increased cost of labour having to be paid by his tenants as well as by himself, he dared not raise his tenants' rent. Thus he would let out more of his land and stock to peasant farmers, who, by using the labour of their families, escaped paying the increased wages. The Black Death, in making the wage-labourer's position better and in hastening the development of the tenant-farmer, was a big nail in Feudalism's coffin. But the big landlords did not accept the new situation without a struggle. They remembered how in the old days they had been able to command the labour of the serf as a right and they regretted that they, by commutation, had allowed this right to be destroyed. Aided by the lawyers-their friends then as now-they attempted to re-enforce the old "week-work" and "boon-work" and to place the labourer back again in the serf status. The friction and indignation which resulted from this attempt gave birth to an uprising which we must briefly describe.

The Peasant Revolt of 1381.-Many superficial reasons have been put forward to explain this outbreak, which was full of significance in showing how high wages and independence had engendered, in the once servile serfs, a spirit which would not brook the revival of the old exactions. As,later, the Indian Mutiny was falsely said to have been caused by the greasing of cartridges with a certain fat, so the Peasants' Revolt was falsely said to have been caused by the insulting behaviour of the Poll-Tax gatherer to Wat Tyler's daughter. Even the friction caused by the Poll-Tax itself hardly provides an sufficient cause, as it had been gathered before without any disturbance. These things may have precipitated the Revolt they may have been the match to the train of powder already laid but the true cause is the one assigned above.

The comparative economic independence of the workers voiced itself in the revolutionary ideas and expressions of the times. The peasants received much help and encouragement from Wyclif's "poor priests." "When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?" So ran the rhyme, recalling primitive equality. These priests did not shrink from denouncing the upper classes and comparing their lot with the lot of those who laboured. Readers are referred to the chapters listed and to such fiction as William Morris' The Dream of John Ball, and Florence Converse's Long Will for further information.

They, too, will tell the story of how the whole country blazed, with Kent, where men had been longest quit of feudal tenure, as the centre of the revolt of how the insurgents possessed themselves of London of how they petitioned the King that "we be forever never named as villeins" and of how they were soothed by false promises-the pledges of princes as of politicians being, even in those days, like the proverbial piecrust- and persuaded to return home, after which the Revolt was crushed.

But in spite of this apparent failure, the peasants were never reduced to the old Feudal bondage again, and a time of prosperity for them, known as the Golden Age, followed. (See Gibbins, pp. 79 and 80, for details as to wages and cost of living). We shall follow in succeeding Outlines the disappearance of this Golden Age. Only about a hundred years elapsed, and in 1593 "the work of a whole year would not supply the labourer with the quantity which in 1495 the labourer earned with fifteen weeks' labour" (Thorold Rogers).

We have noticed some of the factors which played a part in the passing of Feudalism-the growth of its own inherent germs of decay. We have seen legislation and coercion powerless in the face of economic development, and those who attempted to stand still, or move backward, when economic development cried "Forward," condemned to a futile, hopeless endeavour.

BOOKS.-Gibbins, Period III., especially Chaps. IV. and V. Waxner, Chap. VI. Marx's Capital. Vol. I. Chaps. XXVII. and XXVIII.

January 1, 1100 - Japanese Feudalism

​Japanese feudalism was a social, political, and economic system in Japan that lasted from the 11th century until it’s eventual demise in the 19th century. This system was structured very similarly to the system of feudalism in Europe seen earlier. In Japanese Feudalism, the structure or hierarchy of power was determined by the many different social classes, whereby power was reflected and represented through title and social status.

​The first class in this feudal pyramid was the emperor. Although emperors were at the top of the pyramid, they were nothing more than figureheads, or people who had little to no political power. The class below the emperor was the shogun, which was a part of the warrior division of classes in Japan. Although the shogun wasn’t technically the official leader, they held more power than the emperor and served as the true mastermind behind the emperor’s actions. The power and influence from these shoguns was immense and shown through the manipulation of the emperor. The emperor was simply a puppet to the shogun’s game and ambition.

​In addition to the shogun, the rest of this warrior class was made up of diamyo, samurai, and ronin. The daimyo’s responsibility was to assist the shogun and was in charge of the employment of samurai and the protection that those samurai provided to the upper classes of the feudal pyramid. The samurai’s duty was to protect and defend daimyo’s territory and land against rival daimyo. After the diamyo came the ronin, who were also samurai warriors, but did not have a daimyo to work for. This status of being a ronin could occur for multiplereasons. One way a samurai could become a ronin is if their master died. Furthermore, samurai could become a ronin if their master lost power and they were expelled.

​Next in line were the peasants. In feudal Japan, the peasants made up almost 90% of the population and were typically farmers and fishermen. The idea of strength in numbers really came into play when talking about the peasants of feudal Japan. Although they were near the bottom of the pyramid and seemingly played a small role in society, their value was enormous to the continuation of this feudal system and the survival of Japan as well. These peasants were depended on for food and labor. Without this group of people there truly would be no support for the entire system let alone the top of the pyramid. Finally, on the bottom of the feudal pyramid came the artisans and merchants class. This class consisted of craftsmen and traders who worked for a living trying to sell and perfect their trade. Even though these two classes were on the bottom of the pyramid, they still played a role in the spread of culture as represented through art and certain trades. All of these different social classes may appear to be completely different, but in reality they are essential to each other. Without one of these classes, the balance of this system is completely jeopardized. Each class can not exist without the others and the support they provide.

​In many ways this system of feudalism was similar to feudalism in Europe, and was only different from a cultural standpoint. One prime example of the many similarities between the two systems were knights and samurai. These two types of warriors virtually held the same concepts of protecting their leaders and doing everything in their power to serve their country. In the case of Japan, the leader that was protected was the shogun, and in Europe the feudal lord was protected by knights. In addition, they both followed a feudal lord and were split into different territories that fought each other for power.

​Lastly, Japanese feudalism ended abruptly when there was not enough resources to feed this growing population. Japanese feudalism is significant to world history because this system led to a closed country policy and an isolated Japan. Instead of exploring the world around them with the resources that they had, Japan kept to themselves and had minimal contact with outside sources. It is amazing that in a time filled with discovery and exploring, Japan saved and preserved what made their country and culture special and tried not to tarnished what they believed was the ideal lifestyle. Furthermore, it is significant to analyze the effects of this system because of the thought of what the world would be like today if this system didn’t exist and if Japan didn’t isolate themselves because of it. All in all, when the different classes did come together, a highly efficient, effective, and powerful system was formed that would prove itself throughout the test of time in Japan.

The Decline Of Feudalism

The decline of feudalism occurred in the late middle ages. Many different things such as the black plague, changes in warfare, and increasing power of nobility caused the decline of feudalism.

One of the reasons that feudalism ended was the black plague. The black plague was a bacterial infection that passed throughout Europe killing many people. After it had died down it is estimated that over a quarter of Europe?s overall population was killed. This also weakened the bonds of feudalism because vassals were worried for there own health and forgot their responsibilities.

Some people believe that military technology was the largest reason for the decline. For one the long bow is a trajectory arrow that has enough power to rip through most armor, therefore overcoming foot soldiers (knights). Second gunpowder lead to the creation of cannons which, when used with planning, decimated castles of all sizes. Without foot soldiers or castles as a safe haven, warfare was made a significantly hard task. Thus also contributing to the decline of feudalism.

However, most people believe that the decline of feudalism was mainly caused by the growing power of the monarchy. This means that as kings and lords grew stronger that became less and less dependent on their ?ties of loyalty,? to one another. Once the kings and lords got strong enough to mainly fend for them selves? feudalism was at its end.

In conclusion many things such as the black plague, increasing power of nobility, and technology in warfare led to the decline and end of feudalism.

Causes of the Decline of Feudalism

Feudalism was a new system of authorities brought to Western Europe from France by William the Conqueror. William was born in France and by clip, he was able to turn out himself in wars. As a consequence he gained the trust of the childless male monarch of England, Edward the Confessor, whose female parent was a sister of William ‘s gramps and who subsequently promised him the throne of England.

However, when the male monarch died, Harold, Earl of Wessex was crowned king which frustrated the immature William and got him to get down be aftering a retaliation to derive what he thought to be truly his ( biography.

com ) . After really taking over England, William willed to set a strong authorities that would assist him govern, so he introduced feudal system. In this system, the male monarch granted land to his most of import Lords, in return for their part of soldiers for his ground forces.

In the same manner the Lords would allow the knights land in return for their trueness.

The provincials were the lowest society in that feudal system. In exchange for life and working on his land, each Godhead offered his provincials protection ( Annenberg scholar ) . Since feudal system was based on hierarchy, it was an unfair system ( Kenneth Jupp, chapter 2 ) . Peoples were born into societal categories that they could non alter until their decease. For whoever was born a provincial ever stayed a provincial and whoever was born a baronial ever kept that rubric no affair how hapless he was.

In add-on, in feudal system there were no specific regulations a individual had to stay with so there was a batch of pandemonium and corruptness. Neither, were there any limitations for the power of the male monarch. Many of such consequences built up the people’s choler against feudal system. totallyhistory.

Black Death

The Black Death’s Arrival in Western Europe:One of the chief grounds of the diminution of feudal system was Black Death, besides known as the bubonic pestilence, which spread across Europe in the old ages 1346-1353. It is believed to hold foremost emerged in China before making Western Europe through the Silk Road, which was used for trading ( Philip Ziegler, 13 ) . The Black Death was a pestilence, a bacteria that was passed on from wild gnawers and fleas. Countries around Western Europe were thriving faster and they had an purpose to happen a remedy for this pestilence, yet on the other manus Western Europe cared less for their hygiene, taking to the presence of more rats and fleas.

It was truly common during the Middle Ages for people to travel without alteration of apparels or a bath for over a month. As a consequence, the relentless disease spread so fast among their population.

Influence of the Plague on the Society

Peoples were truly baffled and tired of this black disease. A batch of people went to churches for remedy.

Some people beat themselves as they believed it was a penalty from God. Since one tierce of the European population perished because of the pestilence, the figure of provincials decreased, and the Godheads were despairing for labourers on their lands. Bing needed by most of the Godheads, provincials became of importance. Once they got that chance, the hapless provincials who hardly had money to feed themselves, started demanding higher rewards ( Benedictow ) .

The Masterss, unable to make the occupation themselves started back uping them with excess money.

Peasants, nevertheless, still wanted a alteration and they started to turn against the Lords. As a consequence the system of hierarchy bit by bit started altering.

Political Changes

Developments of Politicss:Although there were many grounds for the diminution of feudal system in Europe, the chief 1s originated in England. This was started by King Henry II, male monarch of England, who reigned from 1154 until 1189.

Since at that clip there was a batch of bias among Lords, they would incarcerate people or put to death them for no legal ground, Henry focused on seting an terminal to this state of affairs. However, as a consequence of Henry’s attempt to beef up his royal power, he wrote a papers that stated the king’s traditional power, which caused a struggle with the Catholic Church ( Marc Bloch, 61 ) . The Catholic Church was ever equal to the male monarch but with this new fundamental law, Henry put them on a lower rank. After Henry’s decease, his boy John became King, but he did non derive the people’s favour for excessively long before he started losing land the British controlled in France and implementing heavy revenue enhancements on his people.

These actions angered the Lords and they forced John to set his seal on the Magna Carta, a papers they wrote with the ballots of the populace, to set bounds to the king’s power and add the rights and autonomies to the public people. King John’s grandson started a new way by set uping the ModelParliament. This regulating system was a merely system, including low-ranks, high-ranks, Church clergies, and Lords.

Impact of Political Changes on Feudalism

All of these male monarchs together added portion of the mystifier that lead to the diminution of feudal system.

The Magna Carta promised a set of Torahs that established rights and autonomies of all people. In add-on, the functions of the juries were strengthened after Henry II reforms. Last, all the citizens got voices in the authorities and started being treated every bit for Edward’s Model Parliament. All of these alterations added up to get down the beginning of democracy.

Hundred Old ages of War

War Status:In early old ages, conflicts took topographic point between England and France, and England, even though outnumbered, normally won and gained their land. However, France was determined to derive back its land and, so the first war broke out between France and England. The Gallic soldiers had heavy armours, blades, and spears which made it difficult to travel. On the other manus, the British had light armours, and longbows which flew faster and more accurately.

As a consequence, the English one time once more defeated the much larger Gallic force. However, France did non give up, this clip they met the English with great finding and opposition. One of the chief grounds for that strong opposition was the Gallic inspiration, Joan of Arc, a 17-year old miss who stated that she saw saints promoting her to travel battle for her state. She really fought amongst the soldiers and led triumphs.

However, she was captured by the English who burnt her. The Gallic felt her pressing them to triumph and they defeated the English and drove them out of France.

Consequence of the Hundred Years of War

To carry through the demand of each male monarch for soldiers, they each started to utilize common mans to contend. With the new military techniques, such as guns and hiting Fe balls from cannons and much more, even common mans would contend volitionally for the interest of their state.

The advantage of utilizing the common people lead to two effects. First, there was less demand for knights, a major portion of hierarchy,and Lords who supported the ground forces with them. Second, promoting the common mans to contend led to patriotism, their trueness to their state, which besides shifted power from the male monarch and Lords, as now the common mans were working to construct their state non their male monarch or Lords ( Seward, Desmond ) . However, those common mans were forced to contend while paying higher revenue enhancements, and those who could digest were small, so they were of higher demand later and that gained them even more influence.

What are the Merits and Demerits of Feudalism?

Feudalism had many merits. At first, it saved the common men from the foreign invaders. By saving people from the clutches of invaders and plunders, it created a healthy society.

Secondly, the feudal Lords were able to save the common men from the tyranny of the King.

The common men get respite. A healthy society was created in Europe by feudalism.

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Thirdly, slavery could not thrive in Europe due to feudalism. Since the Vassals were under a Lord, they could not be sold as chattels. Thus, feudalism gave a terrible blow to the slavery system in Europe.

Fourthly, the Knights showed their Chivalry. They considered saving weak from the strong as their prime duty. They also showed honour to women. Due to the Knights, feudalism became popular in Europe.

Fifthly, feudalism put an end to the worriness of the people. Their duty was finished when they paid their ‘Homage’ to the Lord. Then the Lord had to give him fief and save him.

Last but not the least, the relation between Lord and a Vassal was Cordial. They fulfilled the need of each other. The European Society breathed a healthy atmosphere due to this feudalism.

Demerits of Feudalism:

The demerits of feudalism were many. At first, it divided the society into two classes, viz, the feudal class and the peasantry. The Lords acquired more wealth and power In due course of time they hated the Vassals and did not do any good for them. This created dark clouds in the mental horizon of common men.

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Secondly, feudalism discouraged nationalism. As war became a regular feature among the Lords, it created hurdles in the formation of nation state.

Thirdly, due to feudalism, the political unity of Europe was lost. This gave way to war and conspiracy among the Lords in Europe. Thus, the dream of the creation of sovereign states was shattered on the rock of frustration.

Finally, this feudalism made the condition of peasants deplorable. It became difficult on their part to earn their livelihood from a small quantity of land.

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