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Vassals and fiefs were replaced by private armies and commoners, as merchants became the new source of power for the kings.Karl Marx points out the fall of feudalism should be mainly attributed to internal factors.The old system of feudal levy, which formed the basis for feudalism, became obsolete as money became the symbol of power.
Although the renaissance played a key role in the transition from feudalism to capitalism, several other factors also contributed to the transition.
These factors include flaws within the feudal system as well as external forces that created a long-lasting impact on the medieval societies.
Merchants started to transform society, from subsistence to an economic one, thereby revitalizing the notion of capital gain.
The new merchant class also provided important money for kings, who stood much to gain by encouraging their trade.
In essence, the feudal arrangement was a subsistence system that focused on two elements, survival and salvation (Hamilton 2007).
As Europe became safer, merchants invaded the rural society giving way to wealthy towns and cities.The Crusades and travel during the middle ages opened new trade options for England.More trade saw the growth of more towns and thus more merchants.Towns and cities in turn provided alternative employment opportunities, improving the livelihoods of the peasants and in the process encouraging rural to urban migration.Fiefs left their lords for towns and cities, leaving landlords labor less hence contributing to the demise of feudalism.Merchants begun to prosper as Europe became more stable.They were a unique class of individuals in that they were not bound by obligations, thereby conducting trade in their own interest, or else everything would come to a standstill.Fiefs were kicked off the land, those who left moved on to join towns and cities while the rest remained to become paid laborers.One of the major external factors that led to the transition form feudalism to capitalism was the expansion of trade.Another disruptive force was the increase of communication, which broke down the isolated homesteads, assisted the rise of towns, and facilitated the emergence of the middle-class.This process was greatly accelerated in the 14th century and did much to destroy the feudal classifications of society.