Feudalsim Essay

This essay has a total of 1077 words and 5 pages.


During the Middle Ages, countries fought and argued for land and pride. The main goal of
the leaders of these countries was global domination. With several countries fighting for
one cause, there was no chance they would resolve their differences peacefully, often
leading to wars and conflicts. Feudalism was the staple of European government. Although
it served medieval statesmen well, the social structure was incredibly unbalanced, which
was the main reason for its downfall.

The creation of this form of government is believed by scientists to have been back in the
ninth century, A... the institutions of feudalism gained accelerated organization in the
ninth century ...@ (Bunsen 179). This states that the most influential countries and
regions began to form during this time. AIts origins, however, were traced to the break up
of centralization of the Roman Empire ...@ (Bunsen 179). This means that even before the
feudal provinces began to develop, evidence of feudal societies was being thought up.

When the Roman empire fell, it left many wealthy landowners spread throughout the European
landscape. For every wealthy landowner there were many poorer, less prominent ex-roman
citizens. AThey decided therefore to commend themselves to landlords, surrendering to a
lord in return for safety and the right to farm the properties@ (Bunsen 179). This was the
beginning of the feudal nations. Other provinces would evolve, but for the most part these
were the more prominent countries. The children of the men who owned the land would
inherit the land as well as any other property owned by their fathers. This tradition kept
rich people rich and poor people poor.

People who exchanged their land for protection were shielded from opposing enemies by
knights, infantrymen and horsemen. "The vassal rendered to his lord certain services in
addition to supplying his quota of armed knights " (Bishop 110). The primary defense for a
lord was his knight. AThe knights formed the core of the lord=s household; many of them
lived permanently within the castle walls and were fed and housed by him@ (Barbara 269).
Knights that were given homage by their lords did not really need any land but were still
paid in fiefs, which were stretches of land paid to whomever. AThese household knights did
not need a grant of land on which to live, though they often received it all the same@
(Barbara 269). This showed the favoritism the lords and kings felt and expressed to upper
class citizens.

While the basic feudal system was working out fabulously for the higher ranked officials,
the peasants were getting short changed from the very beginning. APeasants, who supported
society by their hard and dirty work, were its feet@ (Macdonald 8). This is a perfect
comparison as it shows that the peasants had to endure the dirtiest work while getting
almost nothing in return. AFor the poorest peasants the threat of starvation was never far
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