Agriculture[ edit ] Major advances in farming made agriculture more productive and freed up people to work in industry. The British Agricultural Revolution included innovations in technology such as Jethro Tull 's seed drill which allowed greater yields, the process of enclosure, which had been altering rural society since the Middle Ages, became unstoppable.
This is not necessarily so, and feudalism is not completely foreign to American society. Let me try to discuss feudalism from three different aspects.
The paragraphs in bold will provide the sort of discussion that you are likely to find in the average college textbook; those in regular print will provide some idea of the historical conditions Medieval english society which the feudal organization of society arose; and those in red will discuss the growth of an example of American feudalism with which most of you are familiar, if only through films and TV.
Before we begin, we should note that the men and women of the middle ages never talked about feudalism. Feudalism is a term invented in the sixteenth century by royal lawyers - primarily in England - to describe the decentralized and complex social, political, and economic society out of which the modern state was emerging.
The term "feudalism" came from the German vieh, or "cow," the measure of wealth among the early Germans, a term that gave rise to the medieval word fief.
But the sixteenth-century lawyers pictured this land as having been under the control of a powerful king who distributed much of it to his followers, men of distinction whose breeding and upbringing particularly fitted them for governing and giving battle.
It has been argued that historians have interpreted medieval documents and histories in terms of this view, and that, when we examine the documents more closely, there is actually very little evidence that society was really organized in such a fashion.
This may very well be true, but a new and different picture of medieval society in the ninth through the fourteenth centuries has yet to be developed.
Lacking anything possible better, it is only reasonable that we should turn our attention to the traditional portrayal of feudal society. Feudalism is a decentralized organization that arises when central authority cannot perform its functions and when it cannot prevent the rise of local powers.
In the isolation and chaos of the 9th and 10th centuries, European leaders no longer attempted to restore Roman institutions, but adopted whatever would work.
The result was that Europe developed a relatively new and effective set of institutions, adapted to a moneyless economy, inadequate transportation and communication facilities, an ineffective central government, and a constant threat of armed attack by raiders such as the Vikings, Magyars, and Saracens.
The most well-known of the institutions were manorialism the organization of the peasantsmonasticism the organization of the churchmenand feudalism the institution of the aristocracy.
At the close of the First World War, hundreds of thousands of young men, trained to fight and laden with "war souvenirs" such as Luger pistols, hand grenades, Thompson submachine guns and the like, returned to an America in which there were not enough good jobs for them to fill, and in which the government was busily engaged in cutting expenditures for such things as policemen and was bending every effort in a constant and fruitless struggle to stop people from drinking alcoholic beverages Prohibition In a feudal society, civil and military powers at the local level are assumed by great landowners or other people of similar wealth and prestige.
Much as churchmen assumed governmental authority with the fall of the Roman Empire in the West, local leaders, such as Count Robert of Paris, assumed the role previously exercised by government officials at the local level.
Other individuals in other areas gathered retinues of fighting men and took over the role of the government in those territories they could control.
Often enough these were imperial officials whom the imperial government could no longer keep in check, but others also emerged as local leaders. In American cities in the 's, neighborhood gangs often arose. Since the neighborhoods were often ethnic, the gangs tended to be dominated by Italians, Irish, Germans, or whatever group was dominant in the district.
The leaders of these gangs claimed jurisdiction over their neighborhood - "territory" or "turf" - and collected taxes in the form of "protection money" for the services they performed.
These local leaders and their retinues begin to form a warrior class distinct from the people of their territory. The local leaders who emerged during the decay of the Carolingian Empire were generally armed men, particularly armed men mounted on horseback and possessing a fortified residence.Medieval English genealogy: updates: 30 August This page contains brief details of the latest batch of updates to the site, and includes newly added and updated links.
Medieval English genealogy: updates: 30 August This page contains brief details of the latest batch of updates to the site, and includes newly added and updated links. Displaying the turbulent period in European history known as the Hundred Years War, the Plantagenet Medieval Archery and Combat Society is a re-enactment group that have been thrilling, educating and entertaining audiences across the UK and internationally for over 40 years.
The Medieval English Towns site explores the urban sector of England as it was during the Middle Ages – aspects of the history of cities, boroughs, market towns, and their communities – with particular, but by no means exclusive, reference to East Anglia and to social, economic, and political history.
Lectures in Medieval History, Rise of Feudalism, AD, by Dr. Lynn Harry Nelson, Emeritus Professor of Medieval History, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. Displaying the turbulent period in European history known as the Hundred Years War, the Plantagenet Medieval Archery and Combat Society is a re-enactment group that have been thrilling, educating and entertaining audiences across the UK and internationally for over 40 years.