The Feudal System

Submitted by j. Glen pollard on Sun, 02/24/2013 - 22:39

MOST people believe that life in the Dark Ages were wonderful and adventurous. But some forget about the peasants, serfs and vassals. These were the ones who made the noblemen and kings so great. Peasants always were working, slaving and protecting them as they ate at their abundant tables, laughing at jesters and minstrels.

These are who they were:

First of all we must talk about the Feudal System.

King: Except for being the richest man in the country and leading his men into battle, the king also gave his nobles large areas of land as a payment for fighting for him.

Nobles: Also known as lords, they were to provide knights for the king and were supposed to ‘pay homage’, which means they would swear his loyalty to the king.

Knights: These men fought for the king and nobles and later were paid with land from lords.

Peasants: These poor people worked and farmed for knights, nobles, and the king. They later won protection from their master by working as farmhands.

Most peasants whose lord’s treated them badly ran away and were known as serfs. If the lord of the manor find the serf in one year, he could be brought back and whipped, branded with hot irons or even get his hands cut off. The lord was allowed to do anything he wanted with the serfs except kill or sell them. If however he was not found after one year and a day he was free.

Once a year, a vassal would pledge his loyalty to his lord as the lord did to his king. In spite of their promises to serve and obey nobles, they sometimes rebelled against their king and peasants revolted against their lords.

In 1381, hundreds of peasants tried to win their freedom by rebelling against their lords or knights. Led by Wat Tyler, the peasants marched into London and went around rioting through the streets. King Richard II met them and swore to give them better attention but later punished all of them.

Another disadvantage was when a peasant would hunt in the king or lord’s forest; he would be dragged through the streets or even hung in public. So, the poor peasants would become outlaws and hide in the forests, choosing to steal from the minstrels or to rescue poor pilgrims from robbers.

Now that you have read of all what had happened and realize how life was then, just think about it. Really think about; what’s the difference between then and now. If you still don’t understand, try to see it in present day view:

The king—the president.

The nobles—the governors.

The knights—the soldiers.

The peasants—the common citizens.

Do you see where I’m coming from? How much has changed and how much has the Feudal System been changed till now?

Author's age when written

This was for school report that my mom made me do for school.


Hey, Welcome to AP!!!!
This was really well done. I enjoyed it. Actually, I learned from it too. I had no idea what a serf was, and that's really interesting knowledge, I never even thought about. LOL! What is with the year and a day? That's like the driving law of being 16 and a half... like the half really counts? LOL!
I think definitely a lot of things haven't changed, but there are things that have changed drastically. Like the peasants had very, very poor living conditions (yeah there are still very poor living conditions but I don't think as bad). They had to sleep all on one big pallet on the floor. The animals would be brought in to sleep with them for warmth... which of course means they always had fleas.
Also, they had to work out in the sun for hours, tilling and harvesting etc. What do we do? The worst is that we may work in a very small cubicle with grumpy workers. Or working in a fast food restaurant with minimum wage...
So... That's my point of view, it's interesting to hear yours.
The Feudal System hasn't really changed all that much though, agreed.
Great essay! Thanks for sharing, and WELCOME TO AP!!!!!!

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
Write On!

First, thank you so much! I rejoice to see someone use the essay section to post an essay and not...well...something else.

Second, I would like to mention that you did an excellent job on this essay on avoiding the use of first person (I). You had a good introduction (what I like to refer to as an "attention grabber"). It immediately drew your reader in because you're implying that your reader could very possibly be subject to some deception. In addition, your connections seemed to flow quite well.

However, I don't quite agree with your take on the presence of the feudal system in today's culture. You see, the governors and president have completely different jurisdiction. The president may execute the laws which Congress has passed (though he often makes his own under the name of executive orders) but he cannot pass any laws that the Constitution does not grant the Federal Government permission to pass. These are reserved to the states.

Thus, the governor really doesn't owe any allegiance to the president. Nor does the military owe any allegiance to the governor. Technically, the military is directly under the president (as commander in chief).

This also brings another difference to mind. While the king is the highest political authority in the land, the president most definitely is not. Congress and the Supreme court are equally authoritative. And all three are under the Constitution. The highest authority in America is not a man, but a document.

Also, the peasants back then had no say in their government. They had practically no voice. Unlike then, however, we elect our officials. We owe our political allegiance to no man, but rather, to the Constitution.

I can see what you are trying to get across, but your comparisons seem to me a little extreme.

I look forward to reading more from you.

“D’ye know what Calvary was? What? What? What? It was damnation; and he took it lovingly.”
~John Duncan

I liked this -- very insightful! Very interesting :) But I also agree with what Benjamin wrote. :) I hope to read more of your writing soon! :)

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths

Go to my blog and follow it:
:) for my sake, follow

Our history lecturer from high school (CDs from a Christian school that are very good) actually loves the feudal system. He would admit its imperfections and that life was not easy for the peasants, but what he loved about it was that it was all relationship-based. You're in community and to some degree, a covenant community, whereas America today is so disjointed and people come and go and aren't deeply rooted and dependent on each other - which was a plus of the feudal system. Your essay was very good, but that's just another thought about a difference between the feudal system and modern America.

Gee, it's so nice to have another guy on here, who posts stuff.
I like this--the way you wrote it was really good--it felt like you were just talking to me in real life. BUT, Benjamin mentioned you avoided using first person (I). The second last sentence:Do you see where I’m coming from? Sorry Benjamin, but he did.
To be honest, I actually like the comparison. But I'm not American. But I do have to say, I can see what Benjamin is saying.
AND, I was just read about the Feudal System in my history! How cool is that? Your last post you did like a Greek/Roman thing with the names. Nice job there. Well done. :D

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

Here are a couple of words from Me....

I just did this essay because my Mom wanted me to write a research essay. I just ended it that way because I wanted to sound... You know.. Professional... Un-kiddish... Thanks for giving the advice :D (thumbs up!)

"The trip is a difficult one. I will not be myself when I reach you."-When I Reach Me.

This is the fundamental difference between a speech and an essay. In an essay, you should, if possible, avoid the use of first person. As a writer, you want the reader to forget about your existence as much as possible. Thus, in an essay, the use of first person is actually less professional.

On the other hand, in a speech, the use of first person is often used because it's simply awkward not to use it.

“D’ye know what Calvary was? What? What? What? It was damnation; and he took it lovingly.”
~John Duncan