Feudalism is a system of economic and social organization found historically in several areas of the world including Japan, other parts of Asia, the Americas and many countries of eastern and western Europe. In western Europe, feudalism was at its height between about 1000 and 1500. Feudalism was founded on a web of military obligations between powerful overlords and their vassals.
Vassals, who were usually landlords of knightly rank, owed duties of military service in return for grants of land (fiefs) from the overlord. The land, and the military obligations, were usually passed from father to son. The usual economic foundation of feudalism was the feudal manor, an agricultural organization that included a central farm owned by the landlord and small land holdings for a class of bonded farm labourers (serfs).
The serfs in feudalism were required to work the central manorial farm and to provide the lord with produce and money payments in return for their own rights to land use. Feudalism gradually declined as cities and towns grew, money became the basis for economic transactions and power became centralized in nation states under monarchies. Loss of rural population from plague also hastened the end of feudalism and this system of economic organization, especially in England.
The philosopher and lover of man
have much harm to say of trade; but the historian will see that trade was the principle of
Liberty; that trade planted America and destroyed Feudalism; that it makes peace and keeps
peace, and it will abolish slavery. - Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes (American Poet, Lecturer
and Essayist, 1803-1882)
The First World War, and especially the latest one, largely swept away what was left in Europe of feudalism and of feudal landlords, especially in Poland, Hungary, and the South East generally. - Emily G. Balch
The Americans still think that
feudalism rules the world and therefore demand that Iran explain its handling of the
hijacking affair. Iran explains nothing to anyone but God.
Totalitarianism is feudalism in
the twelfth century sense of the word. - Barbara Amiel
I'm not just antimachismo, I'm a feminist. One thing that really awakens my rebellious streak is 20 centuries of one sex dominating the other. We talk of slavery, feudalism, exploitation, but the most unjust domination is that of one half of the human race over the other half. - Jose Luis Rodriguez
Feudalism, Capitalism, and
the World-System in the Perspective of Latin America and the Caribbean: "Ever More
Solitary" - Steve J. Stern - The American Historical Review, Vol. 93, No. 4
(Oct., 1988), pp. 886-897