The Feudal System Essay

887 Words 4 Pages
The Feudal System

The feudal system, with all its injustices, was destined to crumble. A system that divided society into differing social classes and forced the lower social classes into subservience, was surely bound to be overthrown by the very people that it repressed. In fact in the 18th century the feudal system was officially abolished after the reading of a report on the misery and disorder which prevailed throughout Europe. Though the decree abolishing the feudal system was not officially written until the late 1700s, the change had been in the wind since the early 13th century. The people were rioting, burning villages and abandoning farms, and any form of authority was overthrown. After being in place for more
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In medieval times feudalism was not the term used to describe that current social order. Vassalage was the original 'feudal' name and vassal was the name given to the holder of tenure of land. Property holdings were the true measure of wealth, and the King essentially owned all of the land in his territory. Land was used by a King to gain power and wealth. Further acquisition of property, however, came with a price; it required a solid army to do battle to gain other territories. A modern medieval army required leaders who were motivated and in turn could motivate their charge to carry on in often brutal warfare. It was expected that the vassal, or local dignitary, would participate in battle as a knight or heavily armed cavalryman in return for privileges and grants of land. This established the vassal in a higher social class, above that of the common man or peasantry. As the vassal moved in the higher social circles, he saw himself as above manual labour and would recruit the peasantry to work the land and raise cattle.

Power undertook a circuitous route and the feudal state was a society of connections. If a person was not well connected, as was the case for the peasantry, life could be extremely difficult. Power and wealth were hereditary, which ensured that people could not move between social classes. If you

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