The Rise and Fall of Feudalism Essay

756 Words Jul 1st, 2013 4 Pages
Xiang Wei

Feudalism, as a decentralized political system, flourished in Medieval Europe. In this essay, the main political and economic characteristics of Feudalism will be mentioned, while discussing the main historical factors to the rise and fall of feudalism.
The rise of Feudalism was a direct result of insecurity that caused by several significant historical factors. At first, the collapse of Roman Empire that led to prolonged unrest and power struggles was essentially a reason for why Europe was divided into many small states. The frequent fights among those states made people suffered from violence and insecurity. Even though Charlemagne united those states and Europe lasted for a period time of peace, Holy Roman Empire
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The lords, who held lands, granted knights the possession of the land that was known as fiefs. In order to exchange for the military and non-military service, peasants had to provide some goods and service to the lord and knights. The obligations and corresponding rights between lords and vassal regarding to fiefs construct the feudal system.

In terms of economic characteristics of feudal system, it was agricultural with little or without trade, and exchange was mainly operated with barter. Because religious beliefs discouraged trade for profits and accumulation of private wealth, Europe under feudal system was a largely self-sufficiency economy that was dominated by local powerful landowners who contributed the most domestic production. In addition, serfs, as people without rights or independence, had to forfeit virtually everything to survive while they were burdening heavy taxes.

The success of Feudal system created a new age of prosperity and progress, which eventually became outmoded because of the following historic factors. At first, during the 12th and 13th centuries, Europe moved from a largely self-sufficiency economy to an economy geared to trade, which required demand massive money growth rather than goods; fiat money system substituted barter system. This significant economic change led to a revival of commerce and accelerated the economic growth of Europe. The strong Economic growth raised the standard of living of

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