What Is Feudalism? Definition, Meaning, Merits And Demerits

Table Of Contents

1. Meaning Of Feudalism
2. Features Of Feudalism
3. Merits Of Feudalism
4. Demerits Of Feudalism

What Is Feudalism?

Feudalism is a system of government based on ownership of land. Note: The land are owned by the feudals lords and another name for land is “fief”. The feudals lords could be the kings, emperors or monarchs. He splits the land for the vassal lords, who equally splits the land further for the serf.

A vassal lord is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord. Both the vassal lords and the serf owe thier lives to the king even in time of war and can as well fight for him.

A serf is seen as a person who is forced to work on plot of land. Benefits of a serf is that they are entitled to the king is protection, justice and can cultivate whenever that want to.

Features Of Feudalism

1. It is a system of government based on the hierarehial ownership of land.

2. It is monarchial in nature.

3. The feudal lords (the kings) posses unlimited power.

4. The feudal lords own the land.

5. Under feudalism, tax or taxes were not paid money. They were paid with products and services.

6. The serf was in the lowest class he was only a little better than the slave, he could not be sold away from the land but was always sold with the land.

Merit Of Feudalism

1. It saved the common men from foreign invaders.

2. Slavery could not thrive in Europe due to feudalism.

3. Feudalism created room for a healthy society.

4. It gave protection to the common men in the society.

5. It encourages decentralization.

6. It instituted orderliness and avoided total chaos.

Demerits Of Feudalism

1. It divided the rich and the poor. The peasant were the ones who felt disadvantaged.

2. The lords posses excessive power which make them use excessive power on the peasant.

3. Major percentage of the people then were commoners and peasants.

4. The serfs had almost no say in this system and because of that, they had to pay higher taxes to the lords that protected them.

5. Loyalty and obedience is not to the government but to the land owner.

6. Due to the absence of a strong national government, there is an anarchy in the state.