The End of Feudalism

Feudalism is the social system in place during the Middle Ages where people work and fight on behalf of landowners, who in exchange provide land and protection in return. This was the dominant system in place between the 9th and 15th centuries. After approximately 600 years, why did this system begin to break down?


The Growth of Cities

Feudalism, being a manorial system, requires that a population is tied to a particular region, or piece of land. One of the reasons that it began to deteriorate is through the rise of wealth and urban populations.


Inside of a town, the social structure is necessarily less rigid -- an exchange of food and loyalty for protection and shelter is no longer practical. Wealthy merchants began to exert more influence as they began to obtain desirable material possessions and to flourish from the sale of luxury goods instead of their status as landholders. As a result, they were no longer bound to the nobility for their subsistence and had the ability to thrive independently. Skilled craftsmen, successful shopkeepers and shrewd bankers also began to have the ability to affect their own destiny more than ever before.

The End of Feudalism - Read by Mr. Berrigan
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