Black Death FRQ RevisionSeptember 18, 2012
The Black Death
The peak of the Black Death in Europe between 1347 and 1351 can be considered one of European history’s most fatal pandemics. Around one-third of Europe’s population at the time was infected and killed by the plague. They had no cure and limited knowledge on how to prevent the spread of the infection. It left the majority of Europe’s population in terror while the rest turned to God or had their last hurrah in anticipation of their own infection. The Black Death created disaster in Europe including political dissatisfaction amongst the lower and higher classes, the loss of papal power in the Catholic Church, economic dislocation and instability, the blurring of social classes and blaming of the Jews, and finally, the decline of feudalism which had the greatest impact during the transition from the Middle Ages into the Modern Era.
The politics surrounding the Black Death became corrupted in numerous ways. The struggle for power between the English and French created political distress during a difficult time. The two kings started the Hundred Year’s War over the right to the French throne in 1337. This created yet another major issue to deal with in the fourteenth century. The political instabilities were also majorly affected by the growth of the government bureaucracies and the power of Parliament. The English government questioned who should be in control of the bureaucracies and Parliament faced instability that would eventually lead them to a civil war. Nobles tried to maintain feudal order during this crisis by creating laws, but that just created more social hostility. Monarchs used this conflict as a way of increasing their own power. These issues are exactly what changed the politics in Europe forever.
Religion during the time of the plague did not have the supportive structure that many people depended on. As people turned to the church for help,...