chapter 17 questions - Chapter 17 Questions: Name: Isabella...

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Chapter 17 Questions: Name: Isabella Tobon Mark:_______/45 1. How did the evolution of the institution of serfdom in the Eastern differ from that of serfdom in Western Europe? The princes of Eastern Europe rolled back the gains made by the peasantry during the High Middle Ages and re-imposed a harsh serfdom on the rural masses. The nobility also reduced the importance of the towns and the middle classes. This process differed from developments in Western Europe at the same time. In the West, peasants won greater freedom, and the urban capitalistic middle class continued to rise. Large numbers of incoming settlers obtained land on excellent terms and gained much personal freedom. These benefits were also gradually extended to the local Slavic population. By 1300 an improvement in peasant conditions had occurred in Eastern Europe. Peasants bargained freely with their landlords and moved about as they pleased. These opportunities and improvements had a positive impact on Western Europe, where the weight of serfdom was also reduced between 1100 and 1300. In many western areas by 1500, almost all of the peasants were free. And in the rest of Western Europe serf obligations had declined greatly. In the East the landlords won. By 1500 eastern peasants were well on their way to becoming serfs again. Political, rather than economic, factors were crucial in the simultaneous rise of serfdom in the East and decline of serfdom in the West. Specifically, eastern lords enjoyed greater political power. In the late Middle Ages, when much of Eastern Europe experienced chaos, the noble landlord class greatly increased it political power at the expense of the monarchs. The weak kings were forced to grant political favors to win the support of the nobility. Thus while strong ‘new monarchs’ were rising in Spain, France and England and providing effective central government, kings were generally losing power in the East. Such weak kings could not resist the demands of the lords regarding their peasants. The political power of the peasants was also weaker in Eastern Europe and declined after about 1400. It has also been suggested the peasant solidarity was weaker in the east, possible reflecting the lack of long-established village communities. 2. How was it possible for the nobility to re-establish serfdom in Eastern Europe? The reestablishment of hereditary serfdom took place in Poland, Prussia, and Russia between 1500 and 1650. The consolidation of serfdom was accompanied by the growth of estate agriculture. Lords seized peasant land for their own estates. They then demanded unpaid serf labor on those estates. Political reasons for changes in serfdom in eastern Europe were because serfdom increased because of political, not economic, reasons. Weak monarchs could not resist the demands of the powerful noble landlords. The absence of the western concept of sovereignty meant that the king did not think in terms of protecting the people of the nation. Overall, the peasants had less political power
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This note was uploaded on 11/29/2010 for the course AP EUROPEA 109 taught by Professor Graham during the Spring '10 term at UPB Colombia.

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chapter 17 questions - Chapter 17 Questions: Name: Isabella...

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