Compare and Contrast the Effects of the Declines of Feudalism in Europe and Japan.

Topics: Feudalism, Meiji Restoration, United States Constitution Pages: 3 (938 words) Published: April 10, 2013
Two very different regions of the world, Europe and Japan, each independently developed very similar systems of feudalism, in which vassals held land from lords in exchange for military service. This system played a huge role in what these countries would grow to become. In both regions, the decentralization of the time period led to the development of constitutional governmental structures, and the distinct separation of classes impacted the creation of similar societies in which there was greater social mobility. On the other hand, it spurred an increase in trade and commerce in Japan, but a conversion from a land-based to a money-based economy in Europe. Following the decline of feudalism, both Japan and Europe developed constitutional governments. The Meiji Restoration occurred in 1868, providing a powerful emperor to rule Japan, which was necessary after the decentralized shogunates of the feudal era. The emperor Meiji promulgated the Meiji Constitution, also known as the Constitution of the Empire of Japan, which positioned the emperor at the head of the government, giving him the ability to declare war, make peace, sign treaties, control the military, and formally enact all laws. This document was amended to become the Constitution of Japan in 1947, which is what the constitutional government in Japan abides by even today. Before the effects of feudalism, the governmental system in Japan had never been so highly centralized and orderly. A similar thing occurred in Europe when feudalism ended in their region. Many countries turned to a constitutional government. For example, in England, the Magna Carta was written in 1215, around the time the system of feudalism was beginning its descent. Because of the strong relationship between classes during the feudal era, nobles felt they could somewhat affect the strength of the king, so they met in Runnymede to write a document to limit royal power by establishing a parliament and giving free men more rights, such...
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