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Feudalism is a system of government that was popular in medieval Europe. Landlords would grant plots of land to their loyal peasants, who would work the land and provide labor for the lord’s estate in return. This type of relationship developed because there was an imbalance between the number of people with enough money to own lands and develop them (aristocracy) and those without any means to farm or make a living on their own (peasants).
The aristocrats were able to keep power over the peasants because without their land, they would have no way of putting food on the table. The relationship was regulated by a contract between lord and peasant called a “fealty oath.” Feudalism didn’t develop as much in other parts of Europe or Asia, but it still had an impact on those regions. In Africa for example, feudal systems emerged from trade agreements with Europeans who wanted African items like cotton and sugar cane.
Conclusion: feudalism developed because there was an imbalance between people that owned enough lands (aristocracy) and those without any means to farm or make living themselves (peasants).
It’s important to note that this type of government only existed in Europe. This is because of how vast the continent was, and that European feudalism didn’t spread to other regions like Africa or Asia where trade agreements with Europeans were established.
The relationship in feudal systems could be regulated by a contract called fealty oaths between lord and peasants which meant they had no rights if they couldn’t provide for themselves through farming their land. Feudalism did not develop as much in other parts of Europe or Asia but it still impacted these areas. In African countries such as Egypt, there are examples of this type of government developing from trade agreements made with Europeans who wanted resources like cotton and sugar cane.
A unique aspect about feudal society was that aristocrats owned all the lands instead of farmers owning them. This meant that only those who were living in the castles and had large properties could be wealthy. Peasants did have rights but they also depended entirely on their feudal lord to survive which led to some of them losing all their possessions, land, livestock, or crops if something happened to him.
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Wealthy people such as kings would often give away part of their property to nobles in exchange for military service. The aristocracy was usually divided into three groups consisting of royalty (kings), nobility (knights) and gentry (people with a significant amount of wealth). Nobility served royal households by fighting battles, giving counsels and being judges while the lower classes enjoyed more freedom in their lives.
*In the next paragraph, it could be mentioned how peasants benefitted from this system with their protection and rights guaranteed by feudal lords. It is also important to mention that despite not being wealthy themselves, they still received land or other property as a form of payment from time to time.*
The development of a peasant class created an agricultural system where most people owned little more than the clothes on their back. This was often called serfdom because farmers belonged to the lord like slaves did in ancient Rome and couldn’t leave without his permission. The aristocracy had everything: material wealth, power over all those below them in society and control over life and death for both nobles and commoners alike.
*This sentence will introduce the following paragraph.
In a nutshell, feudalism emerged because of the lack of wealth in society and due to this system’s protection for those who had no means to protect themselves. This was called serfdom because farmers belonged to the lord like slaves did in ancient Rome and couldn’t leave without his permission. The aristocracy had everything: material wealth, power over all those below them in society and control over life and death for both nobles and commoners alike.”
*This sentence will introduce the next paragraph.
Some people argue that peasants were happy with their lives as they didn’t need much other than food, clothing, shelter from bad weather or enemies which could be found on virtually every farmstead*. Some historians have argued that feudalism was not a system of oppression but one in which peasants were protected from the excesses and abuses of landlords, merchants or kings.
The Lords took care of their serfs’ needs by providing them shelter and food as long as they continued to work on his land*. This gave many people stability even if life for most during this time period was hard due to lack of resources. In return, lords expected loyalty and military service when called upon *. The formality and ritualistic obligations between lord and serf created an atmosphere where both parties understood what was owed without question. It is also possible that because lords did take care of some basic necessities like farming tools*, clothing* and farming implements*, peasants enjoyed a higher standard of living than they would have if left to their own devices* and were able to do it without incurring the extra financial burdens that come with self-reliance*.
*contributed by author. **contributed by editor. **factual information obtained from sources listed at end of post.
That is why feudalism developed – protecting people’s interests was more important for lords in this system, and there was no surplus land available on which serfs could live independently, so while life might be hard under these conditions most people lived stable lives as part of lord’s estate.* That includes having shelter provided for them.* It also included food provisions when necessary (as long as they continued working) and protection from the elements.
*contributed by author. **factual information obtained from sources listed at end of post.
But, as time went on a few persistent problems with feudalism prevailed – namely that serfs had to pay their taxes in labour rather than money (which they didn’t have access to) or goods.* Plus there was no way for them to gain any wealth through trade because all land belonged either to lords or king, who also held control over markets.* That meant people were often forced into poverty because they couldn’t make enough money doing manual labour on lord’s estate alone.* And if a lord wanted someone gone he could just confiscate his land holdings and herd him out onto wasteland where he would starve or die of exposure.*
*These problems led to changes in feudalism that made it more like the manorial system, where peasants could leave and work for themselves if they found a plot of land. ** This meant lords would have less control over them because they were responsible for their own existence.* They also had better access to markets because lord’s didn’t control them anymore but merchants did – so as long as there was money around people had an incentive not to starve or freeze.*
*This may sound great at first but landlords soon realised how much extra power this gave all commoners who now needed no permission from anyone else to do what they wanted with their labour which is why we eventually got capitalism – see below!
The War on Feudalism By the end of the Middle Ages in Europe, feudalism was on its way out. ** The kings and nobles were fighting each other militarily for control of land – this created a large class of poor soldiers who were not doing anything productive with their labour.* As time went by more people decided that they could be better off working under capitalism which is based on trade rather than serfdom. *Feudal lords had to work harder at providing peasants with means of subsistence because there wasn’t enough money coming into their lands from markets and merchants needed labouring hands or cash crops like wool.* *The wealthy landowners gradually realised that if those commoners became too independent it would make them less likely to align themselves with