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Decline of Feudalism

Describing several factors which led to decline of feudalism

Shounak Ghosh

on 5 May 2010

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Transcript of Decline of Feudalism

Hundred Years War Overview: This devastating and long war between the French and the English took place from 1337 to 1453 as a result of a political argument. Although the English won many of the early victories because of their more modern military technology, the French rallied, their morale boosted by the Joan of Arc, and drove the English out of France.
Who Is The Heir? The Capetian dynasty had ruled for a long time in France. However the last Capetian king died without a male heir, leading to disputes over who would take the throne. Philp VI took the throne and declared he would take over the French lands that the English possessed. The English ruler, Edward III, laid claim to the throne as he was also the cousin of the last Capetian king. This escalated into the Hundred Years War English Dominance In the beginning of the war, the English won many battles because of the superior military technology that the English employed. The longbow that the English used allowed them to win these battles even though the French had superior numbers. Three major English victories were the Battle of Crecy, Battle of Pontiers, and the Battle of Agincourt. Longbow vs Crossbow The longbow was the bane of the French. The French still clung to the traditional way of warfare, using massive armies of mounted knights and crossbowmen. However the English adopted new strategies, using lightly armored infantry and many longbowmen.

The longbow could shoot with more power, more accuracy and more efficiency. The crossbow, in comparison, took a relatively longer time to reload and could not shoot as far or with the same force as a longbow. This led to mass slaughter of the French during these early battles where the longbow was pitted against the crossbow. In fact, the longbow was so effective in the Battle of Crecy that about 200 of the English forces died while around a third of the massive French army were killed French Ready to Give Up The French, disheartened by these terrible defeats, signed a peace treaty called the Treaty of Troyes, with the English stating that Henry V (England's ruler) would marry Charles VI's daughter Catherine and when Charles VI died, the sons of Henry V would be the heirs. Then Joan of Arc came. Joan of Arc A 19 year old peasant girl heard voices from the heavems urging her to restore the French crown to the rightful heir, Charles VI's son, Charles VII. At this time, the English were laying seige to the Frech city of Orleans. She convinced Charles VII to let her command part of the French army. After arriving at Orleans, she took an offensive strategy and finally lifted the siege. She also led the French army to many other victories due to her new offensive strategy. Finally she was captured and handed over to the English where she was burned at the stake, being declared a heretic. The French Strike Back Inspired by Joan of Arc, they fought the English fiercely and won many more battles. Finally they managed to drive the English out of France, ending the Hundred Years War. Hundred Years War Map Decline of Feudalism Hundred Years War Political Developments Rise of Trade and Towns Role of Church Bubonic Plague Crusades The Impact Kings no longer relied on nobles for military support and knights as they could raise taxes and therefore raise an army themselves The people of each country felt little loyalty towards their local lord and more towards their king because of the new feeling of nationalism and unity. After the Hundred Years War, the War of the Roses took place in England between two powerful houses, House of Lancaster and House of York, over who would rule. The civil war lessened the power of the nobles and increased the Parliament's strengh as Edward III would call upon the Parliament, asking for new taxes to finance the war. The age of chivalry declined as the Hundred Years War modified the tactics used on the battlefield. Knights were no longer as powerful as before as the longbow easily stopped the massive charges. Magna Carta People did not bathe regularly or change clothes.
Baths and a clothes change occured every 6 months
or not at all
Disease started in China; Rapidly spread along trade routes such as silk road.
Unclean conditions were one of the factors that contributed to the rapid spread.
Unlike today, vaccinations were not available, making people easily suseptible to disease. Plague first hit Europe around 1347. The
plague first struck from a boat carrying
dirty mice in the Mediterranean, and
later spread to the rest of Europe People started dying rapidly. It is
estimated that almost 24 million
people died during the plague, which
was about 1/3 of the population . Trade Slowed Down. There were less
people, which means less goods were
being made and less goods were traded. Less people needed to fill more jobs. Some
trade and farming still needed to be completed,
and since there were less people, some were taking
multiple jobs. Workers could demand for the work they achieved. They
believed they had a right to more pay since they were doing
multiple jobs. Due to higher wages, people could emrge from poverty. People didn't want to stay at the filthy manors since they had more money. People moved away from manors to towns for more work. There was more opportunity in towns, more benefits, and less disadvantages. Less profits and cash flow to manors.
Trade didn't occur, so products that the
manors made were no being sold. Manors
did not have profits and started losing money.
Lords and Nobles could not afford to maintain manors at such high prices. They couldn't trade, so they lost money and workers. Prices kept going up while profits went down. The Crusades was a religious war fought
between the Muslims and the Christians.
Alexius Commonus, Emperor of the
Byzantine Empire, had sent a letter to Count Robert of Flanders asking for help against the Seljuk turks who were taking over his empire. The letter was read by Pope Urban and he sent an army of 50,000-60,000 men. the knights massacred thousands of Jews and Muslims and wanted their Holy Land back from the Muslims. And so commenced the Crusades. Route soldiers took on
the First Crusade. In the First Crusade, knights were ill-prepared and knew nothing of the geography or climate of their Holy Land. In the end, 12,000 knights were sent to fight. They were able to capture a 400-mi. strip of land which stretched from Edessa to Jerusalem. Route knights took on
the Second Crusade. In the Second Crusade, the mission of the
knights was to recapture Edessa, which
had been reconquered by the Seljuk Turks.
The knights returned home in defeat. Europeans
were shocked to hear the Jerusalem itself had fallen
under the rule of Muslim leader, Saladin. A short intermission. Path knights took on
the Third Crusade. Richard the Lion-Hearted In the Third Crusade, three generals led the
Christian army. Barbarossa drowned and Philip
Augustus argued with Richard the Lion-Hearted
and went home. After a multitude of battles,
Richard and Saladin made a truce. Jerusalem was
to remain under Muslim rule but unarmed Christians were free to visit the city's holy sites. Path knights took on
the Fourth Crusade. In the Fourth Crusade, the knights ended up looting Constantinople. This caused a split betweenthe Church in the East, whose capital was Constantinople, and the Church in the West, whose capital was Rome. ` The church provided people with a sense of religious
community and security during a time of turmoil and war The church had jusicial power. They could use canon law, or the law of the church, to prosecute people. Punishment included:
Excommunication-Process where person is denied salvation
Interdict-Law that does not allow anyone to perform the sacrements in the certain region During tough times, people looked to the
church to give them answers to their prayers The church was the largest landowner during the
medieval times. Common people paid 1/10 of their income
to the church. The church was the largest power in Europe because they had money, land, politcal power, and supporters During events such as the plague, people lost hope in
the church because prayers were not being answered Different sects of Christianiy formed
Lutheran Political corruption occured in the church, which led people to lose faith in the church People began to adopt the new sects and people
moved away from the Catholic Church. Effect of the Crusades
on Feudalism The Crusades were one of the
most significant reasons for the
decline of feudalism. The Crusades caused many
Europeans to feel a sense of
nationalism, which caused
them to feel more loyal to
their king than to their nobles. Thousands of knights lost their lives
in the Crusades. Therefore, feudal manors
were left inadequately protected and were
vulnerable to enemy attacks. The Crusades opened many new
trade routes from Europe to Southwest
Asia. Fruits, spices, and cloth were
imported from Southwest Asia. This trading
reduced the need for feudal manors because
food no longer need to be produced on fields. Trade and towns greatly increased
after the Crusades ended. Most trade took place in markets in towns. Peasants brought items from manors to trade in towns. They traded for cloth, food, and utensils. No longer were self-sufficient manors the only source of food production. Guilds, a group of people who all worked in the same profession, controlled trade in large fairs. Everyone in a guild specialized in a certain craft and each guild controlled the wages and prices in their craft. Guilds helped to make trade more organized and efficient. Medieval towns soon began to progress financially. Before a merchant was able to sell his own goods and make a profit, he had to buy goods from a distant land such as China. Since many could not affordf to, moneylenders, mostly European Jews, began to loan money to these merchants. Soon, a more modernized banking system was created. Trade soon began to burgeon in medieval towns and the population of towns began to increase. In addition, more advanced ways of farming, including the use of horsepower and the Three-Field System, allowed a larger quantity of food to be produced, which could feed a larger population. Serfs soon began to ran away from their manors and they fled into towns. They did not return to their manor since they were able to make a living by farming and trade. Since such a large quantity of serfs ran away,
they were no longer entitled to produce food for
their lords.Eventually, serfs were also able to move up in social status. Since serfs no longer produced food on manors, which had supported the entire feudal structure, the feudal system began to break down. In the beginning, feudal lords used their authority to levy taxes and rents on those who lived in towns, but town-dwellers resented this interference in trade and commerce, and demanded certain privileges, such as the right to govern a town. Thus, the feudal system collapsed completely. During the late Middle Ages, many political changes took place which lessened the power of the nobles and increased the power of the commoners and the king, leading to the decline of feudalism. Several of these changes included the new justice system, the Magna Carta, the Parliament and a stronger central government Strengthening Royal Power Henry II, the king of England, made many changes through his reign from 1154 to 1189, with the intent to strengthen royal authority. Changes to the Justice System Mercenary Army Church Dispute He strengthened the power of the royal courts by sending the royal judges to all of England to resolve disputes and collect taxes and declaring that only the royal judges, not the judges of the local lord can resolve criminal lawsuits. The justice system began to use the jury, as opposed to the unreliable Ordeals. The jury in England was composed of 12 loyal people. Jury trials became extremely popular and only the royal courts were allowed to conduct them. Impact The new court system allowed for a strong central control over the administration of justice. It, therefore, increased the king's power and decreased the lord's power. The king was able to raise his own mercenary army through taxes.

Impact Kings no longer had to rely on the nobles for their military services because they could raise their own army. The nobles lost power because the king could command his army which was only loyal to the king. Henry II wanted all of the people of England to follow his laws, including the church which were exempt from laws which applied to them. He wanted to control them to increase his royal power and then, tried to pass several laws which restrained influence of the Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury refused, leading to a great dispute between the two Impact In great anger, Henry II hinted towards killing the Archbishop and 4 knights took this literally and went to the cathedral and murdered the Archbishop. This left a great stain on Henry II's regime. Overview: King John was a dreadful leader, in both the military and the moral aspect. He lost many of the French lands and he treated his subjects unfairly, throwing the nobles he disliked into jail, and raising taxes to an unprecedented level. Therefore, the angry nobles forced King John to sign the Magna Carta which guaranteed certain basic rights. Impact Soon, the people related the Magna Carta to themselves, including the peasants, and argued that those basic rights applied to them, leading to an increase of power for the peasants.

It provided a check on the royal power because it restricted the king from commiting specific actions.

It influenced many later documents and the opinions on the basic rights. Creation of the Parliament The Model Parliament was created by Edward I in order to raise taxes so he could finance the war against the French. He summoned two knights from each county, two burgesses from each borough and two citizens from each city. Gradually the Parliament split into two assemblies, called the House of Lords, composed of nobles and bishops, and House of Commons. The Parliament's power increased a lot as the kings called upon the Parliament many times when they wanted to create a new tax. Impact Although it was created with the intent to weaken the power of the lords, it evolved and eventually, the Parliament restricted the royal power. A Summons to the Parliament The king to his beloved and faithful relative, Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, greeting. Because we wish to have a consultation and meeting with you and with the rest of the principal men of our kingdom, as to provision for remedies against the dangers which in these days are threatening our whole kingdom; we command you, strictly enjoining you in the fidelity and love in which you are bound to us, that on the Lord's day next after the feast of St. Martin, in the approaching winter, you be present in person at Westminster, for considering, ordaining and doing along with us and with the prelates, and the rest of the principal men and other inhabitants of our kingdom, as may be necessary for meeting dangers of this kind.

Witness the king at Canterbury, the first of October. It laid the groundwork for a democratic government

It increased the power of the people (the subjects of the king) as they were being represented and the Parliament held much power. A Stronger Central Government Philip Augustus increased the territory of France after regaining Normandy and other French territories. In the end, he tripled the size of France and therefore, he became more powerful than his vassals.

He also wanted more power for himself (by creating a stronger central government). This led to him establshing royal officials called bailiffs which presided over every district and collected taxes Philip Augustus's heirs made an even stronger central government.

Louis IX, grandson of Philip Augustus and declared a saint by the Catholic Church, created the French appeals court which could overturn decisions of the local courts Philip IV ruled France from 1285 to 1314. During his reign, in 1302, he was involved in a quarell with the Pope. The king disagreed over the right of the pope to control the affairs of the church in his kingdom. To support his claim, Philip IV called upon the clergy (bishops) and the lords, the First and Second Estate respectively. To generate wider support, he also called upon some commoners, called the Third Estate. Impact All of these developments increased the power of the monarchy and sometimes the commoners while the power of the lords decreased. Ghosh
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