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Feb 23, 2011

Rise and Fall of Feudalism

Feudalism may be regarded as a complete organization of society through the medium of land tenure in which from the kingdom to the lowest land owner all are bound together by the obligation to service and defense, the lord to the protect is vassal and the vases to do service to his lord, so the basic principle of feudalism mutual fealty. The king considered the lord of the whole land of the kingdom distributed among his nobles and the nobles distributed the land to the smaller lords. The smaller lords further gave land to the peasants for farmering. The peasants were forced to till the land and pay a greater share of their produce. Like slaves they couldn’t leave their master without their will and had to secure the permission for the marriage of their daughter. The vassals had to pay many taxes to their lords and had to rendered military service to their masters. The duties of the feudal lords were to maintain police force and the arm force, build castles, protect life of his tenants, and render military service to king in the time of wars as their was no permanent army.

After the fall of Roman Empire Barbaric Tribes invaded Europe, and gave a fatal blow to commerce and industry. With the result, the king couldn’t realize enough taxes and he had nothing to give to the lords except the pieces of land and to mint their coinage, impose taxes, to maintain their own arm forces. Feeling the danger from the invasion from the barbaric tribe people willingly accepted the lordships of the noble who could guarantee their safety and security.

Moreover, the Tudor Kings gave a final blow to the feudal system and thus in the words of Trevelyan, a great change of “broke the mold of the static feudal world” and the birth of the industrialist society “liberated mobile forces of capital and personal enterprise.”

Powerful monarchy rose in France, Spain and England in fifteenth century. Tudor monarch devised methods to crush the powers of the feudal lords. Feudal lords in large numbers were destroyed in hundred years’ wars and war of roses. There was a rise of a middle class for promotion of industry and commerce and crafts. They gave support to the king to weaken the forces of feudalism. There was the invasion of gunpowder and the king alone and the monopoly of gunpowder which changed the whole scenario of warfare. The influence of Church was growing and it did not allow lightings on Sunday. Maintenance of regular army was undertaken by king. There was the development of democracy. Principles of liberty and equality led to the formation of the parliament on many countries. These entire factors resulted into the decline of feudalism.


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