AP European History
September 8, 2012
Peasant Revolts in the 14th Century
Jean Froissart’s accounts of the peasant uprisings of the fourteenth century in France and England greatly challenged the mindset of Medieval Christendom. The Jacquerie and The English Peasant Revolt of 1831 both extremely contradicted the way of living set by the great chain of being and the three pillars that supported Medieval Christendom, since the peasants attempted to rise above the estate they were bound to and equalize themselves with those in the aristocracy by using violent revolt. Though it didn’t work, it put a dent in the pillars that supported Christendom at the time and tested how strong the great chain of being actually was.
The peasants of France revolted in 1350 in the Jacquerie because they viewed the knights, earls, squires, and other nobles as evil people who were treating them unfairly and felt that it would be better for everyone if they were killed. They began to rampage France, marching from town to town, killing the nobles, pillaging the women and children, and burning their houses to the ground. As they marched across France their numbers continued to increase dramatically. “The knights and squires fled before them with their families. They took their wives and daughters many miles away to put them in safety, leaving their houses open with their possessions inside” (Froissart 151). During this rebellion, the nobles were scared to death of these poorly armed peasants, so much so that they abandoned all their possessions to flee out of their path and into safety. The great chain of being portrayed the aristocracy as being well above the level of the peasants, and this was accepted as a fact then, but when the peasants rebelled, these same people cut and ran to escape them.
Eventually the Jacquerie was put to a stop, but not before the peasants had gathered thousands of others to rebel with them, and burned or destroyed...