Presentation on theme: "Civilization- Lecture 4 The development of the English Parliament - 1265 (Simon De Montfort). The Peasant’s Revolt - 1381."— Presentation transcript:
Civilization- Lecture 4 The development of the English Parliament - 1265 (Simon De Montfort). The Peasant’s Revolt - 1381
The development of the English Parliament - 50 years after the Magna Carta: 1265 After John, the Bad dies, his son Henry III, ascends the throne. He was as bad as his father. Simone De Montfort, who was Henry’s brother in law and a Baron, felt that the King’s council had no real power. Therefore, he thought it was time to teach the king a lesson. He had a battle with Henry, took him as a prisoner, and put himself in charge.
Simon De Montfort He was an idealist. He felt that the King’s council should be much more politically active. He, therefore, called for the parliament as the King’s council did not have much power or effect or any kind of legal binding power over the King. He thought that governing a country should be through the voices of everyone, not just the rich (democracy).
Since Lords and Barons were already part of the parliament, it was time to invite the knights too, Simon believed. He, thus, said he will invite knights from all over Britain so that the voice would be of many people as possible (from different parts of Britain). However, there is a point in history when democracy cannot be applied; it’s when the people do not have enough political education. Democracy must evolve with time; it cannot be given to the uninitiated, like a beggar for example.
In a way, Simon de Montfort was educating the people politically without realizing it. How? Knights going to and from London had to stop on the way for rest because means of transportation were not advanced (they depended on carriages with horses). So, the knights had to stop every time they came to London; they stayed in inns. Eventually, people running the inns (ordinary people) start asking questions (like why they came, what do they do, etc…), and conversations begin! This kind of cultural and political exchange was a kind of an indirect political education to those common people. In addition, they become part of the parliament through the suggestions sent through the knights, so this means that they participate in making the laws. In a matter of 3 or 4 centuries the parliament became powerful and now it has the upper-hand.
At first, the Knights felt intimidated, too inhibited (shy) to speak in front of the king. So, they elected a representative to speak on behalf of them, As a result of this inhabitation of the knights, the Parliament was divided into “the House of Commons” and “the House of Lords.” These two divisions met only once a year at the King’s open session, other than that they do not mix.
The Peasant’s Revolt 1381 Peasants: the poor, uneducated mass; usually farmers who have little piece of land. Early in the 14 th Century, a terrible disease swept Europe. This disease was known as the Plague, it is an infectious fatal disease (it kills). It killed hundreds of people, and records account that it killed about half the population of Britain! The most who suffered from this disease were the poor (peasants) because they were badly nourished (did not have enough or healthy food) and had low mobility (no source of money). All they thought about (their only hope) was to change their place. As a result, the country lost a lot of its working force which was mainly made up of the poor.
The work force of the country was suddenly diminished. This lead to the change in the economy; prices rose up simply because a few people were left to do the work. Suddenly people were ready to give the serfs (who had a very few rights) anything they wanted because now since no one is left to work, they’re needed so much. Irony: The peasants and the serfs were the much ignored in society, yet they form the backbone of the population; everyone in society depends on them! The serfs started becoming aware of the change in the whole atmosphere of Europe and they started understanding their precious position. (how much they’re needed now after almost half the workers are gone).
The peasants who survived the Black Death believed that there was something special about them – almost as if God had protected them. Therefore, they took the opportunity offered by the disease to improve their lifestyle.Black Death Peasants could demand higher wages as they knew that a lord was desperate to get in his harvest. So the government faced the prospect of peasants leaving their villages to find a better ‘deal’ from a lord thus upsetting the whole idea of the Feudal System which had been introduced to tie peasants to the land.
The Cause of the Peasant’s Revolt: First, the government introduced the Statute of Labourers in 1351 that stated: 1.No peasants could be paid more than the wages paid in 1346. 2.No lord or master should offer more wages than paid in 1346. 3.No peasants could leave the village they belonged to. *Though some peasants decided to ignore the statute, many knew that disobedience would lead to serious punishment.
Second, The Poll Tax In 1381, the Poll Tax was imposed on the people. It was a very unfair kind of tax because it was imposed on both the rich and the poor equally!! This kind of tax will make the poor suffer and they were already suffering. They did not have any rights but only duties to fulfill, now their new duty is to pay taxes! (Remember that life was already becoming expensive as the death rate was increasing – this created the desire to rebel).
A rebellion begins: the Peasant’s Revolt As a reaction, a rebellion started, led by a soldier called Wat Tyler. They behaved like a mob. They killed, terrorized, slottered, and destroyed anything that represented the authority. They destroyed all records so it could not be known who paid the taxes and who did not.
How it ended? Wat Tyler rode up to the king. He knocked Wat Tyler off his horse with a broadsword and as Wat Tyler lay on the ground, one of the king's squires stabbed him in the stomach, killing him. The English Peasants' War was over. Wat Tyler's head was cut from his corpse and displayed on London Bridge. The promises made to the rebels by Richard II were quickly withdrawn although the poll tax was abolished.
2 opinions why serfdom diminished: 1.Some historians suggest that the peasant’s revolt was brought to an end because the rich saw what the poor are capable of doing when they are angry. 2.Another opinion says that serfdom had no place anymore since everything was beginning to change; it had no place in a modern world. Society and all its economic laws were undergoing a major change.