Feudalism is often heralded as one of the most backward and brutal social systems that was ever created. In this system, huge swaths of land were controlled by a single landowner who allowed peasants to farm it in return for rent. Although feudalism has long since faded away, it survived in one form or another as late as the 1800s. Why did this system persist for so long, and why did it eventually come to an end? For that answer, we’ll have to look at a variety of social, political, and economic factors:
economic reasons (landlords could get more money by working the land themselves than by leasing to peasants)
There were also economic reasons for the end of feudalism. In order to increase their income, landlords could get more money by working the land themselves than by leasing it to peasants. This meant that tenants had less incentive to pay rent since they did not own the land, so many landlords evicted their tenants and began farming themselves.
social factors (peasants became more literate, they learned their rights and they rebelled)
As peasants became more literate and learned the law, they began to rebel against feudalism. They knew their rights and they knew how to use them. As a result of this, they tried to break away from their serfs’ duties. For example, if a serf wanted to leave his land and go elsewhere, he had every right to do so as long as he paid his rent in full before he left. If a serf was sick or otherwise incapacitated for work but still had money coming in from other sources (for example, an inheritance or wages earned elsewhere), then it was illegal for anyone else besides him or her self-ownership master (ie: landlord) to collect rent for those years when such income would have been received by someone else instead of landlord/master.
This meant that if you were unable to work due illness or injury during these periods then your landlord could not take advantage of this fact by charging you any extra money as compensation; thus preventing him from making more money than what would have been possible without such laws set out by parliamentary representatives back then known simply as “peasants.”
political factors (more competent kings ruled in Europe)
If you’ve ever read about the rise of feudalism, you may have noticed that it was closely tied to the rise of kings who were able to control their respective territories. These kings had several advantages over their predecessors: they were more educated and experienced than previous lords; they could raise taxes and pay for better armies; and they could get rid of the barons who weren’t loyal to them, making them less dependent on their support.
There were economic, social and political reasons for the end of feudalism.
Social, economic and political reasons all contributed to the end of feudalism.
- The rise of towns meant that a market economy was developing, which meant that people could make money by selling things they had produced or traded. This allowed peasants to escape their dependence on the landowner’s will.
- The Black Death left many landlords with fewer workers at their disposal to work on their estates and this led them to offer more favorable terms so as not to lose any more peasants from their land.
In short, feudalism was a system that gave power to the aristocrats and peasants in exchange for protection of society. But there were economic, social and political reasons for the end of feudalism. As Europe began to industrialize, the serfs became more literate and aware of their rights, so they rebelled against their landlords. Meanwhile, the lords realized they could make more money by working their own land rather than leasing it out. Finally, stronger kings replaced weak ones who were no longer able to control their people. All this meant that feudalism eventually came to an end in Europe.