Medieval Europe: What is Feudalism Essay Example


Feudalism was the major social and political order in medieval Europe.  It was later developed as power passed from things to local lords. “Feudalism brought together two powerful groups: lords and vassals.” (“You decide… Feudalism: Good or Bad?”).  Feudalism provided people with protection and safety by establishing a stable social order.  It is a highly decentralized form of government that is based on rights and obligations.  

There were different levels of the feudal system.  Starting off with the monarchs, they had the highest authority.  The monarchs had all the authority and kept most of the land for themselves.  They gave fiefs to the most important nobles who became his vassals.  Next, there were Nobles and Church Officials.  When Monarch’s were to give them land, in return, they swore an oath of loyalty to supply the king with knights for war.  Next, were the knights.  The knights were to fight in the king’s wars.  Lords would supply the king with them for wars.  Lastly, there were Peasants and Serfs.  They were in the lowest class of the social structure.  Lords would sometimes rent land to the peasants who worked for them.  But, most peasants were serfs.  Serfs would usually work, but weren’t considered slaves.  They couldn’t leave the lord’s land without permission, and had to farm their fields in exchange for a small plot of their own land.  

Feudalism can be interpreted as either good, or bad.  Personally, I believe it was good and bad. But it was more so good than bad.  First, “Feudalism protected the communities from the violence and warfare that broke out after the fall of Rome and the collapse of strong central government in Western Europe.  Feudalism secured Western Europe’s society and kept out powerful invaders.” (Packet, “You decide… Feudalism: Good or Bad”?)  Feudalism had a strong impact on this time because of all the corruption and warfare going around near them.  It ensured the community was safer, and the invaders were kept out.  Next, feudalism did not allow one person to gain all the power.  Instead, it was shared amongst themselves with many different people and groups.  The feudal system also allowed rights to most people, however the monarchs had a little more power than everybody else.   Knights were used for war, but peasants weren’t looked at as slaves, they worked for small amounts of land.  But, like I said, this system had its downside.  This system didn’t allow people to move up in the society.  If a person was born a peasant or serf, they had stayed there, and were never allowed to move up.

As we can conclude, Feudalism can be looked on either way.  We see how it provided protection to people, but also didn’t allow people to ever move from where they were born into.  The system helped protect people from invaders and protected them from violent acts such as Warfare, but also favored monarchs and lords power above most.  We looked at what feudalism was, how it worked, and how it is Good, but also a reason why people can see it as a “not so great” idea.

 

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