Feudalism was not at any time a national institution.
Feudalism formed the starting-point also of the later social nobilities of Europe.
It is better to say that European feudalism is not to be found in England before the Conquest, not even in its beginnings.
The uniting of the personal and the land sides of feudalism came long after the conquest, and in a different way.
In studying the origin and growth of political feudalism, the distinction is easy to make.
The temptation to use the larger part of any space allotted to the history of feudalism for a discussion of origins does not arise alone from greater interest in that phase of the subject.
In this way, Qwing to the dislocation of the ancient aristocracy, to the enlarged jurisdiction,of a power so democratic as the episcopate, and to the increased privileges of the burghs, feudalism received a powerful check in Italy.
This is the great social fact - the failure of government to perform one of its most primary duties, the necessity of finding some substitute in private life - extending in greater or less degree through the whole formative period of feudalism, which explains the transformation of institutions that brought it into existence.
Feudalism could not be established, however, until the great of the land had adopted them for themselves, and had begun to enter the clientage of others and to hold lands by the precarium tenure.
The new German government furnished no better protection from local violence, nor was it able any more effectively to check the practices which were creating feudalism; indeed for a long time it made no attempt to do so.
It is almost impossible even with the most discriminating care to give a brief account of completed feudalism and convey no wrong impression.
Ideally regarded, feudalism covered Europe with a network of these fiefs, rising in graded ranks one above the other from the smallest, the knight's fee, at the bottom, to the king at the top, who was the supreme landowner, or who held the kingdom from God.
Of France, is, like Marignano, interesting in a tactical sense, from the fact that the feudalism of the past and the expert soldiership of the future were strangely mingled.
Those whom he enfeoffed with land held it according to the law of Norman feudalism, which was already becoming precise.
It brought together the two sides of feudalism, vassalage and benefice, as they were now commonly called, and from this age their union into what is really a single H.
There was actually in fact and practice a larger uniformity than this short list implies, because these principles tended to express themselves in similar forms, and because historical derivation from a common source in Frankish feudalism tended to preserve some degree of uniformity in the more important usages.
The French system of taxation was maintained because it brought in ampler revenues; but feudalism, the antiquated legislation and bureaucracy were revived, and all the officers and officials still living who had served the state before the Revolution, many of them now in their dotage, were restored to their posts; only nobles were eligible for the higher government appointments; all who had served under the French administration were dismissed pr reduced in rank, and in the army beardless scions of the aristocracy were placed over the, heads of war-worn veterans who had commanded regiments in Spain and Russia.
In either case there is an importation of Western feudalism into a country originally possessed of Byzantine institutions, but affected by an Arabic occupation.
It is a struggle between the king and the haute tour: it is a struggle between the aristocratic feudalism of the Franks and the monarchical feudalism of the Normans.
The dissolution of feudalism, the development of towns, the growth of scholasticism, all these and much more have been ascribed to the Crusades, when in truth they were concomitants rather than results, or at any rate, if in part the results of the Crusades, were in far larger part the results of other things.
But, in our opinion, when feudalism was established, the right of levying it did not belong to every lord, but only to the lord having the haute justice.
This is especially clear from clause xvi., which decrees that the title and estates of the lords-lieutenant of counties should not be hereditary, thus attacking feudalism at its very roots, while clause xiv.
Feudal history was always a becoming, always a gradual passing from one stage to another, so long as feudalism continued to form the main organization of society.
Great diversity prevailed everywhere, and we should not be surprised to find some different fact or custom in every lordship. Anglo-Norman feudalism attained a logical completeness and a uniformity of practice which, in the feudal age proper, can hardly be found elsewhere through so large a territory; but in Anglo-Norman feudalism the exception holds perhaps as large a place as the regular, and the uniformity itself was due to the most serious of exceptions from the feudal point of view - centralization under a powerful monarchy.
This was particularly the case in parts of France and Germany where feudalism continued to regulate the property relations of lords and vassals longer than elsewhere, and where the underlying economic feudalism remained in large part unchanged.
Hence arise various mistaken beliefs, such as the belief in revelation which not only injures the moral As feudalism passed from its age of supremacy into its age of decline, its customs tended to crystallize into fixed forms.
The predominance of the nobility in this way became as characteristic of feudalism in the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem as the supremacy of the crown was of contemporary feudalism in England; and that predominance expressed itself in the position and powers of the high court, in which the ultimate sovereignty resided.
At the same time, if our text is thus late, it must be remembered that its content gives us the earliest and purest exposition of French feudalism, and describes for us the organization of a kingdom, where all rights and duties were connected with the fief, and the monarch was only a suzerain of feudatories.
When this stage was reached the formative age of feudalism may be considered at an end.
These were by no means the only rights and duties which could be described as existing in feudalism, but they are the most characteristic, and on them, or some of them, as a foundation, the whole structure of feudal obligation was built, however detailed.
Feudalism had performed a great service, during an age of disintegration, by maintaining a general framework of government, while allowing the locality to protect and care for itself.
At the moment, however, when feudalism was disappearing as the organization of society, it gave rise to results which in a sense continued it into after ages and even to our own day.
In this later pseudo-feudalism, however, the political had given way to the economic, and customs which had once had no economic significance came to have that only.
They drew from it their titles and ranks and many of their regulative ideas, though these were formed into more definite and regular systems than ever existed in feudalism proper.
Feudalism was abolished in 1836, and in 1848 complete political union with Piedmont was granted, the viceregal government being suppressed, and the island being divided into three divisions of which Cagliari, Sassari and Nuoro were the capitals.
The worst governed part of the peninsula was the south, where feudalism lay heavily on the cultivators and corruption pervaded all ranks.
Already the men of Reggio, Modena and Bologna had declared for a democratic policy, in which feudalism and clerical rule should have no place, and in which manhood suffrage, TahdeaCnIes~ together with other rights promised by Bonaparte Republin to the men of Milan in May 1796, should form the basis of a new order of things.
See also the articles Titles Of Honour, Peerage, Feudalism, Gentleman, Duke, Count, &C.
When this great convention met the king must show himself ready to recognize that great changes have taken place, that feudalism and absolutism have for ever disappeared, and that a new relation between king and people has arisen, which must be loyally observed on both sides for the future.
He resolved to suppress many abuses, but, above all things, to check feudalism and limit the power of the nobles.
The description of this institution which has come down to us from Roman sources of the days when feudalism was beginning is not so detailed as we could wish, but we can see plainly enough that it met a frequent need, that it was called by a new name, the patrocinium, and that it was firmly enough entrenched in usage to survive the German conquest, and to be taken up and continued by the conquerors.
This change did not occur, however, without some modification of the Roman customs. The comitatus made contributions of its own to future feudalism, to some extent to its institutional side, largely to the ideas and spirit which ruled in it.
This process had probably already begun in a small way in the growth of institutions which belong to the economic side of feudalism, the organization of agriculture on the great estates.
When the government of the state had entered into feudalism, and the king was as much senior as king; when the vassal relationship was recognized as a proper and legal foundation of public duties; when the two separate sides of early feudalism were united as the almost universal rule, so that a man received a fief because he owed a vassal's duties, or looked at in the other and finally prevailing way, that he owed a vassal's duties because he had received a fief; and finally, when the old idea of the temporary character of the precarium tenure was lost sight of, and the right of the vassal's heir to receive his father's holding was recognized as the general rule - then the feudal system may be called full grown.
There is no trace of the distinctive marks of Frankish feudalism in Saxon England, not where military service may be thought to rest upon the land, nor even in the rare cases where the tenant seems to some to be made responsible for it, for between these cases as they are described in the original accounts, legally interpreted, and the feudal conception of the vassal's military service, there is a great gulf.
In the ceremony of homage and investiture, which is the creative contract of feudalism, the obligations assumed by the two parties were, as a rule, not specified in exact terms. They were determined by local custom.
When conditions so changed that government could free itself from its dependence on the baron, feudalism disappeared as the organization of society; when a professional class arose to form the judiciary, when the increased circulation of money made regular taxation possible and enabled the government to buy military and other services, and when better means of intercommunication and the growth of common ideas made a wide centralization possible and likely to be permanent.
Although he broke off the Magyar tribal system, encouraged the private ownership of land, and even made grants of land on condition of military service - in order to secure an armed force independent of the national levy - he based his new principle of government, not on feudalism, but on the organization of the Frankish empire, which he adapted to suit the peculiar exigencies of his realm.
His care for the common people was sincere and constant, but his beneficial efforts in this direction were thwarted by the curious interaction of two totally dissimilar social factors, feudalism and Hussitism.
Thus, at the very time when the modernization of the means of national defence had become the first principle, in every other part of Europe, of the strongly centralized monarchies which were rising on the ruins of feudalism, the Hungarian magnates deliberately plunged their country back into the chaos of medievalism.
The advantages, however, which it afforded were obvious, and this side of feudalism developed as rapidly after the conquest as the personal.
All round and about this line of descent there was a crowd of varying forms branching off more or less widely from the main stem, different kinds of commendation, different forms of precarium, some of which varied greatly from that through which the fief descends, and some of which survived in much the old character and under the old name for a long time after later feudalism was definitely established.'
Scholars are not yet agreed as to what would have been their result if their natural development had not been cut off by the violent introduction of Frankish feudalism with the Norman conquest, whether the historical feudal system, or a feudal system in the general sense.
They were forms which may rightly be called feudal, but only in the wider meaning in which we speak of the feudalism of Japan, or of Central Africa, not in the sense of 12th-century European feudalism; Saxon commendation may rightly be called vassalage, but only as looking back to the early Frankish use of the term for many varying forms of practice, not as looking forward to the later and more definite usage of completed feudalism; and such use of the terms feudal and vassalage is sure to be misleading.
There are thus distinguished at the beginning those two great sides of feudalism which remained to the end of its history more or less distinct, the personal relation and the land relation.
Feudalism in its most flourishing age was anything but systematic. It was confusion roughly organized.
It should be noted that from its very beginning the land relationship of feudalism was not created primarily for the grantor's income, but that it emphasized in the most striking way his continued ownership.
Itcompleted the transformation of the army into a vassal army; it completed the recognition of feudalism by the state, as a legitimate relation between different ranks of the people; and it recognized the transformation in a great number of cases of a public duty into a private obligation.