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Chapter #5: The Decline of Feudalism (Pages 66-73)

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Matt Huss

on 10 October 2013

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Transcript of Chapter #5: The Decline of Feudalism (Pages 66-73)

Chapter #5: The Decline of Feudalism (Pages 66-73)
Political Changes that Contributed to the Decline of Feudalism
Henry II of England made legal changes in England:

Action: Royal courts required that charges and trials be conducted.
Result: This strengthened the royal power and reduced the noble power

Action: The Constitution of Clarendon: Forced the Church to follow the laws of the King.
Result: This strengthened the royal power and reduced the Church power
The Bubonic Plague
The Plague started in Central Asia and was brought to Europe trade routes.
The Hundred Years' War Part in the Decline of Feudalism
Between 1337 and 1453, England and France fought a series of battles for control over lands in France. Known as the Hundred Years’ War this long conflict contributed to the erosion of feudalism in England and in France.
Feudalism is a system where wealthy landowners (Nobles) would give control of some of their land to others in exchange for protection or service..
There were many causes for the breakdown of the feudal system. In this lesson, you will focus on three:
1. Political changes in England.
2. A terrible disease.
3. A Long series of wars.

Both of these action showed a shift from independent power of the nobles and Church to a more centralized government rule.
Political Changes that Contributed to the Decline of Feudalism
King John signs the Magna Carta:
1. The document placed restrictions on the powers of the king.

2. Protected the rights of the nobles and Church.

3. Habeas Corpus- The legal concept that an accused person can't be jailed indefinitely without be charged with a crime based on evidence.

4. The English people used this as a way to secure rights and liberties they had not had under the rule of the king.
The Magna Carta basically reduced the king's ability to abuse his powers, and granted rights and protection to the citizens of England.
King Edward I and the Model Parliament In 1295

Edward I, King John’s grandson, took a major step toward including more people in government. Edward called together a governing body called the Model Parliament. It included commoners and lower-ranking clergy, as well as high-level Church officials and nobles.
Political Changes that Contributed to the Decline of Feudalism
The Impact of Political Developments in England 

Magna Carta established the idea of rights and liberties that even a monarch cannot violate. It also affirmed that monarchs should rule with the advice of the governed.

Henry II’s legal reforms strengthened English common law and the role of judges and juries.

Edward I’s Model Parliament gave a voice in government to common people, as well as to nobles. All these ideas formed the basis for the development of modern democratic institutions.
These political changes contributed to the decline of feudalism in two ways.
Some of the changes strengthened royal authority at the expense of the nobles. Others weakened feudalism by eventually shifting some power to the common people.
It started around 1346 and returned every decade into the 15th century.
China's population was reduced by half from 1200-1390 C.E.
24 million Europeans died from the Plague (about 1/3 of the population).
The Bubonic Plague
The Plague or Black Death got the name from the black and blue swellings that appeared on the infected skin.
The Plague killed the rich, poor, young, old, royalty and peasants.
Fleas that lived off of the blood of infected victims spread the disease while being carried on rats that lived in the filth associated with the lack of proper sanitation and hygiene practices of the citizens and cities of the time.
Many people believed that the Jews were responsible for the Plague and laws were created to banish or punish them.
Ring Around the Rosie:
When a person contracted the Bubonic Plague, they would gain rose-colored, puss-filled sores on their body called rosies. As the infection spread, rings would wind around the rosies. "Ring around the rosie," refers to these rings.
History in Nursery Rhymes
Pocket Full of Posies:
During the time of the Bubonic Plague, people realized that it was harmful to go around the body of someone who had died from the plague. The common practice in some areas of Europe was to fill the shirt or jacket pocket of the deceased with posies so that others would know to leave the body alone.

History in Nursery Rhymes
Ashes Ashes:
Once the body of the person who had died from the plague had been taken away, it would be burned. This is essentially when cremation started as a form of burial. There was a lot of worry that extra handling of the body could cause people to get sick.
We All Fall Down:
It was believed by many that eventually that Bubonic Plague would wipe out all of civilization. It is understandable why they had this belief because of the number of people that were dying everyday from the Plague.

The Bubonic Plague Contributes to the Fall of Feudalism
The deaths of so many people speeded changes in Europe’s economic and social structure, which contributed to the decline of feudalism.
Trade and commerce slowed almost to a halt during the plague years.
After the plague, there was a shift in power from nobles to the common people.
The Impact of the Hundred Years’ War The Hundred Years’ War contributed to the decline of feudalism by helping to shift power from feudal lords to monarchs and to common people. During the struggle, monarchs on both sides had collected taxes and raised large professional armies. As a result, kings no longer relied as much on nobles to supply knights for the army.
The Sides of the Hundred Years' War
The French
The English
English army was made up of lightly armored knights, foot soldiers, and archers armed with longbows. Some soldiers were recruited from the common people and paid to fight.
The French had knights that wore heavy armor, and they could hardly move when they were not on horseback. Crossbows were effective only at short ranges.
The French were inspired by a 17-year-old peasant girl, known today as Joan of Arc. In 1429, Joan led a French army to victory in the Battle of Orléans). The next year she was captured by English allies. The English pushed certain Church leaders to accuse Joan of being a witch and a heretic and to burn her at the stake. Twenty-two years after Joan’s death, the French finally drove the English out of France. Almost 500 years later, the Roman Catholic Church made Joan a saint.
Joan of Arc
Nationalism shifted power away from lords to the monarch. The war created a new sense of national unity and patriotism on both sides.

Commoners and peasants bore the heaviest burden of the war. They were forced to fight and to pay higher and more frequent taxes. Those who survived the war, however, were needed as soldiers and workers. For this reason, the common people emerged from the conflict with greater influence and power.
Nationalism and Power Shifts
Cultural Interaction: 

The culture of feudalism, which centered on noble knights and castles, declined in this period. The spread of new military technologies such as the longbow and cannon made the armored knight and fortified castle less important. The disaster of the plague influenced culture, causing some to celebrate life in the face of mass death. Others had the opposite reaction and fixated on death and the afterlife, which was reflected in art.
Political Structures:

 In England the signing of Magna Carta and other political reforms laid the foundations for more democratic forms of government. The Hundred Years’ War between France and England shifted power away from feudal lords to both the monarchy and the common people. It also increased feelings of nationalism, as people began to identify more with the king than with their local lord.
Economic Structures:

 The feudal system of agriculture and land ownership declined in this period. The plague caused trade and commerce to slow. Due to the death of one third of the population of Europe from the plague, labor shortages occurred. This created greater economic opportunities for peasants, and they demanded increased wages.
Social Structures:

 The hierarchical social structure of feudalism was destabilized as a result of the plague, which affected all social classes equally. When the plague passed and feudal lords attempted to reestablish their authority, peasant rebellions occurred as commoners refused to accept the old social order. The common people also gained greater power as a result of the Hundred Years’ War.
Human-Environment Interaction:

The bubonic plague spread over trade routes from Asia to western Europe and killed one third of the population of Europe. Its spread was aided by the fact that most people lived in unhygienic conditions at this time, especially in the cities. In the wake of the plague many peasants left their manors for greater opportunities in the cities.
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