Feudal Society
By: McKenzie Hosier and Kaci Reyes

Essential Question:

What were the impacts of feudalism on government structures?

What is Feudalism

  • political and military system in Western Europe
  • No strong central government and the government was also corrupt
  • Feudalism was created to fill those gaps and provide justice and protection
  • Feudal comes from Latin term for fief, which is land that is granted to a vassal in exchange for military service
  • A vassal was a peasant tenant

What is Manorialism

  •   Based on English word Manor, which means a large estate controlled by a lord
  • Covered most of Northern Europe
  • Supplied clothing, food, shelter
  • Land was set aside for Lord’s use and held by peasants
  • Lord lived in manor house that was surrounded by farm buildings, a garden etc
  • Peasants were dependent on lord for protection from enemies
  • Peasants farmed their land and the Lord’s
  • Began to decline when trade and industry revived
  • Considered a "Caste System", which influenced certain aspects of Feudalism

Beginnings of Feudalism

  • 2 main roots: Relationship of honor within the Germanic war bands in Europe and the system of tenure, which is landholding
  • Germanic war bands would fight for honor of their leader and remain by him until death. In return, the lord would repay his men with treasures and glory.
  • Landholding was the act of the lord giving a person land on certain conditions of repayment; something other than rent
  • By 700’s, Islamic empire had spread from Africa to Spain and was headed towards parts of Europe
  • Kings and important leaders needed military service and peasants wanted more land for work
  • By 800’s, the system of loyalty among Germanic tribes had evolved into a system of holding land in exchange for military service

What is the Feudal Contract?

  • Homage was a ceremony in which a man would become a follower of a lord
  • This was an oath so that the lord and man would promise faithfulness to each other
  • The lord would then recognize the man as his servant
  • This ceremony was also the contract exchanged between lord and vassal

Impacts of Feudalism on Government

  • Encouraged loyalty to a lord and empires could have a strong military service constantly
  • There was, however, no loyalty to a race or geographic area, only a certain person, and those people could differ
  • If that lord died, there would no longer be loyalty to any higher government
  • Discouraged trade and economic growth because the land was managed by the poorest people and were tied to those plots of land
  • The lord could claim however much he wanted from the profits and could charge a toll on the peasant
  • These plots of land were considered gifts in exchange for service, so essentially one side was making money

Click Video Link to Sum It All Up

To Bring It All Back

What were the impacts of feudalism on government structures?


Rosenthal, Joel T. "Feudalism." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

Brand, Paul. "Manorialism." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

Emmons, Jim Tschen. "feudalism." World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.