Demise Of Feudalism Essay

1008 words - 4 pages

Demise of Feudalism


There were numerous factors involving the demise of Feudalism in Europe. All the different small problems added to the confusion and replacement of feudalism by The Renaissance. The concentration of power in the hands of a few was always a great disruptive force in the feudal system. The rise of powerful monarchs in France, Spain, and England broke down the local organization.
One of the determining factors in the downfall of feudalism was the Hundred Years War. This war was fought because England claimed the king's succession over France. The Hundred Years War was very devastating to the two countries. The war was a sign to people that a monarchy wasn't as great as was expected. Due to France's weak government and England's small armies, the war sent on and on, giving the peasants a great reason to loose respect for the monarchy. The peasants and middle class faced a big problem during this time, which were taxes. The war squeezed out taxes due to the overdrawn length of the Hundred Years War. This problem was the beginning of major revolts throughout Europe. Two more determining factors involved in the breakdown of feudalism were a famine that started around 1315 and the Bubonic Plague. The famine was a period of bad crops. Due to the bad crops, the peasants couldn't eat which led to further problems such as the weakening of the immune system.
Following the famine that hit Europe was the disastrous Bubonic Plague. The plague first occurred in China. Since China was one of the world's busiest trading nations, it was only a matter of time before the outbreak of plague spread to western Asia and Europe. Once people became infected, others were infected rapidly. The disease struck and killed people with tremendous speed. In the winter the disease seemed to disappear, but only because fleas - which carry it from person to person -are dormant then. Each spring the plague awakened, killing new victims. After five years, 25 million people were dead - 1/3 of Europe's population. Medical society never recovered from the results of the plague. The many deaths caused labor shortages all over Europe. This led workers to demand higher wages, which in turn led to more peasant revolts. The empty lands were then repopulated, redistributing the wealth. Also, a rise in the power of cities occurred as old feudal order survivors rebuilt. The plague also took its toll on the church as well. People throughout Christendom prayed for deliverance. When their prayers were not answered, questions began forming. Why isn't our God helping us? A new period of political turmoil and philosophical questioning lay ahead. Another contributing factor in the breakdown of feudalism was communication and commerce. Increased communication broke down the isolated manner in which feudalism bestows. Trade and commerce were also becoming a factor. The...

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