What Have We Learned From The Middle Ages?
It is often said that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. It is true that technology has changed civilization and wars have shaped the earth, but, loosely speaking: the duties of man, the importance of knowledge and our morals are still almost the same as they were since the dawn of civilization. For the last 8,500 years man has harvested, learned and practiced righteousness. Yet, man is always progressive. We seek to find the most efficient means of working, learn as much as we can and search for what is meaning of “good”. Man has learned a lot from the past successes and past mistakes making written history possibly our greatest invention. What has happened in written history that we might have overlooked or forgotten? What can we see happening to our nation now that should be avoided due to past failures? And where have we progressed? Our time is compared to many times in history but in this paper we will compare it to Europe in the Middle Ages. How are the Middle Ages in Europe like the U.S. today and how is it different? How is this good and how is this bad?
The Middle Class
In the Middle Ages
There were many different systems in Europe that rose and fell throughout its colorful history. The system that was very influential of change during the Middle Ages was a duel system called feudalism/manorialism. In a lecture Robert W. Brown defines feudalism as a political structure that is a relationship between the king and his vassals while manorialism is a socio-economic structure that defines the role of the vassal and his subjects (The Legacy of the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages in the West). Timothy C. Hall explains: “local nobles acquired large tracts of land from kings for loyal service during war. In return, these nobles granted land to individuals in exchange for military service. The feudal system established a relationship between the lords and vassals, but the other eighty percent of the population was made up of peasants…” (89, 82). These peasants were responsible for all of the farming done on these manors that fed the nobles and themselves but often-times the food was scarce for the peasants. This was a dark period where the majority of the people were poor who belonged to the kingdom and the minority were of the kingdom, there was no middle class but this all changed with the revival of trade and towns. The lack of warfare, a major climate change for the better and a trade revival with the East brought about an agricultural and technological revolution (Edgar et al. 277; Hall 190, 191). These revolutions influenced the people to roam about beyond the borders of their manors confident that they had enough food to eat and something valuable to trade. With the opportunity of new jobs the people founded their own crafts or markets and the guilds were born. According to Roger R. Edgar, George F. Jewsbury, Neil J. Hackett, Barbara Molony and Matthew S. Gordon...