The Rise and Fall of Feudalism

Topics: Feudalism, Serfdom, Lord Pages: 3 (770 words) Published: June 23, 2013
Xiang Wei

Feudalism, as a decentralized political system, flourished in Medieval Europe. In this essay, the main political and economic characteristics of Feudalism will be mentioned, while discussing the main historical factors to the rise and fall of feudalism. The rise of Feudalism was a direct result of insecurity that caused by several significant historical factors. At first, the collapse of Roman Empire that led to prolonged unrest and power struggles was essentially a reason for why Europe was divided into many small states. The frequent fights among those states made people suffered from violence and insecurity. Even though Charlemagne united those states and Europe lasted for a period time of peace, Holy Roman Empire eventually fall and was broken into three weak kingdoms after he died. Afterwards, invaders, who were Muslims from south, the Magyars from Asia and the Vikings from Scandinavia, frequently attacked Europe. At that time, everything became insecure; people were more willing to stay home safely instead of travelling; political authority was concentrated at local places while economic development was limited locally without trade. Therefore, the fall and division of Holy Roman Empire and the rise of Barbarian kingdoms were another two historical factors. Under such situations, people were more willing to give up freedom in exchange for security and other basic needs, which cultivated the development of feudalism. Seizing the opportunity, wealthy nobles, seeking to expand their power and land holdings, began to fight with one another for territory, which eventually emerged into a new political and social system called feudalism.

The basic political structure is a system based on the exchange of land for military service. There was a hierarchical ranking system that ranked in an order of military power; men with the higher military power deserved the higher rank. Those people who owned military power were essentially nobility. The king, as...
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