Feudalism Essay, Research Paper
Thesis: Feudalism was a bust because it started a way of putting things into classes and that way of life has continued until today. The reason that classifying things was and still is incorrect is because the guidelines for the classifications might not be pleasing to all those affected by the different levels in society.
Feudalism was not just a system that was practiced in Europe, but also in Japan and China while similar organization was followed in Africa and also with the Celts. The basic idea of this way of life is that leadership comes with political loyalties and alliances. Feudalism was a medieval contractual relationship among the upper classes, by which a lord granted land to his men in return for military service. (Lopez 337) In laymen s terms, feudalism was a way for the people who were rich in the world to become all powerful and they could flex the muscle that they were given by their high rankings to oppress the lower classes or those who did not stay loyal politically or economically.
The way feudalistic life was a major bust because, even though this was thought of after the main feudal periods(when feudalism was the way that society ran), feudalism
went against the modern theory of, All men are created equal. This, though more modern than feudalistic periods, still applies to back then because people had no chance in life because their fate, or their path for life was not to be decided by them, but their forefathers, so in truth, later generations either flourished off of, or paid the consequences of their ancestors decisions.
The basic breakdown of the feudal system is that the king was the peak of the feudal system, best represented as a pyramid. Then, the power of the king could be distributed to his nobles, barons, and bishops, in return for their loyalty. Then, the power of the nobles was then not given, but exercised on the lowest ranking of the feudalized peoples. The serfs, villeins, or commoners were the main people who served in the armies, did most of the dirty work for the community to make the place run smoothly. A close analogy would be that of a slave plantation. The owner of the plantation would buy land and instead, of planting, caring for, and harvesting the produce of the land himself, he would acquire slaves to do the work for him. In any given place, it is not usual for all workers to do what they are supposed to do or even do what they are supposed to do correctly without some supervision. So then the plantation owner would hire supervisors, to be higher than the workers and oversee the work that they did, but not as high as the owner himself, just in the middle. This relates to the feudal system like this. The plantation owner would be the king, who is the highest person in the ranks. The slaves would be the serfs that would do the work, as in the medieval times, expressed as their gratitude to the nobles, who provide them with protection and land to work with
in return for their loyalty to them, which in turn, the nobles give their loyalty to the king. As I touched on briefly when describing the way that the serfs stood on the feudal ladder,
the nobles are the middlemen. They carry the orders to the king, and relay to the serfs.
This was the way that the people of those times found best to run things. They looked for a way to make their lives run well and when they found a form, feudalism, they did not see the downside of it because of the good effects that it had on some people. The key to that is that it was good for some people. The serfs had to risk their lives when fighting in battle, they had to work hard, rather than have a more relaxed lifestyle as the other levels in the feudal system enjoyed. The reason that the serfs were assigned to the working class wasn t even by their merit, it was determined by how their forefathers did in life. Their futures were decided and they had no say in the outcome. That is truly the sign of something being a bust.
The only reason that the serfs took this kind of treatment for as long as they did was due to the fact that they saw the treatment that they received as good as they had never experienced anything other. The only upside that I can draw out of the feudalistic lifestyle is that it was based on loyalty. An example of the loyalty was Lord and vassal were interlocked in a web of mutual rights and obligations, to the advantage of both. (Gies 28) The value of loyalty is a good one because it is rooted in trust. The nobles took land that was in their jurisdiction and let the peasants, or serfs work on it for protection. This is yet another good value that can be drawn out of the feudal society. This is one way that the big guy looks out for the little guy so this incorporates some scruples in the nobles and others that were high up in the system. This is an example of
how the upper class did not flex, but effectively distribute its power for the good of all in the society. An example of how upper class tried to be fair and just was when King John of England made speeches of promises, like no freeman shall be arrested except by the law of the land. (Lopez 162)
The things that I have learned during the paper has helped be draw the conclusion that my thesis statement was incorrect.
This is because in the beginning, the overview of feudalism showed me that the upper class people bullied lower class people. Another unique thing that stuck out in my mind was that the positions were usually not even a result of a person s intellect, or present position, or status in life, but that of an ancestor that could have made choices that could be beneficial or malevolent towards the lifestyle of their descendents.