Chapter

Feudalism and the National Past

Monika Baár

in Historians and Nationalism

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199581184
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722806 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199581184.003.0008

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

Feudalism and the National Past

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As Chapter 7, ‘Feudalism and the National Past’, explains, the period of feudalism was believed to represent a rupture in national life: the historians maintained in unison that it was a foreign development, the result of colonization, which never fully penetrated their societies. The chapter assesses the humanitarian and utilitarian arguments with which they supported their demands for the abolition of feudalism: they championed the emancipation of non‐privileged classes by endowing them with civic liberties and the right of property ownership. Furthermore, it explores how the historians utilized a mainstream argument of the age according to which trade and industry and medieval towns played a seminal role in the weakening of the feudal system. Last but not least, the chapter focuses not only on the content but also on the form of the proposed changes and tackles the historians' attitudes to liberalism, democracy, reform and revolution.

Keywords: abolition of feudalism; emancipation; civic liberties; property ownership; industry and progress; liberalism; democracy; reform; revolution

Chapter.  10818 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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