Feudalism In France (Essay Sample)

Feudalism in France

In early years way before the first world war, political power was a tool envied and used to control the mass. Feudalism poses as one of the tools perfectly used in many countries with its roots in France. This system combines military and legal structural model of ruling. The major ingredient being holding of land in exchange for labor, service or protection. Feudalism was supported by both the clergy and the state which formed the nobility and the peasantry who the feudal society. this kind of system created powerful differentiated social groups between the lords and the peasantry who had to become vassals in order to obtain land. Feudalism goal was to maintain social structures where the affluent and loyal families remained at the top of the hierarchy with the poor and commoners maintaining that niche and servicing the nobles. The peasants, well known as the serfs worked for the lords, especially on agricultural fields. The serfs constituted the largest portion of the population and had to pay high taxes creating an oppressive regime. France became the pioneer from which feudalism spread to other European nations such as Germany, England, Spain and Italy.

Feudalism was never a system without benefits at the time.  Decision making was localized creating stability and security within society. There was an obligation for both the lords and the peasants keeping communities functional. Nevertheless, the social segregation and oppression of the majority characterized feudalism leading to a heave for a democratic structure. The introduction of Magna Carta in the 12th century and the Black Death brought a political revolution in England with power shifting from the king to the commoners.

Despite the decline of feudalism with increased spirit of nationality in France and across Europe, its impact still rolls in modern society. Karl Marx describes it as capitalism where the social stratification is evident with the rich owning the means of production such as land and industries as the peasants offer labor. The social and economic effects of feudalism persist monopolizing political and economic institutions. Feudalism was effective on a local level so as to maintain the lord-vassal relationship through landholding. On the other hand, mercantilism rise in the 16th century also enhanced the reduction of feudalism as it promoted governmental regulation of state economy. The king was to rule under the advisory of the government. The 100 years’ war between England and France also eliminated the gap between the king and the commoners who were involved in the war. Nonetheless, mercantilism preceded the growth of capitalism as the role of the market was still limited. This led to private ownership of goods, investments, and means of production driving social and economic inequality. However, this regime steers economic growth and production efficiency that has seen France’s economic growth.

Despite the bureaucracies passed from feudalism, free trade and globalization exist today unlike in feudal systems where reliance of production was on the low-level farming. Furthermore, high taxation rates during feudalism led to low production by peasantry thus no surplus on produce meaning low development. The economic hierarchy in France led to insufficient developmental demand as an economy. France’s economic instability in the early 16th century caused it colonies. Therefore, feudalism has served as both a tool for France’s escalation economically and at the same time had damaging effects. For instance, modern forms of constitutional government in France depict feudalism influence. Consequently, historical aspects never depart from a country but shape its current models learning from both the shortcomings and the strengths.

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