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The Decline Of Feudal Ideas

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Chapter Summary

Individualism emerged as a set of demands advanced by opponents of the feudal system of relations that was widespread in Medieval Europe from the 11th century onwards. The laws standing over the feudal system were appropriate to agricultural production at a low technological level. Laws of tenure ensured social order and the efficient application of existing technology in production. The property-less classes, who provided services in return for military protection, were in no position to decline the arrangements under which they lived their lives. Feudal religious authorities created the impression that the resulting relations and conditions were in accordance with the will of God. They promoted beliefs and values that helped the productive classes to accept their subordinate position and to understand their obedience as duty.

Keywords: decline; feudal system; individualism; Medieval Europe

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