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Middle Ages Essay

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Middle Ages Essay

  Kayla Bailey

        The dark ages were a period of great change, constant war, terrible plague, and cultural growth. Throughout these centuries, many new cultures, and ideas were born. And we still feel the effects of these changes that were brought about during the Middle Ages. Trade and industry flourished and enabled a reasonably secure lifestyle for millions of Europeans. However, once the Black Death invaded Europe, the country slowly collapsed. This network of trade and commerce collapsed and Europe went into chaos. It took about seven hundred years war, disease, and poverty to escape the middle Ages. However, the Middle Ages made much advancement in government, culture, and economy.


        During the middle Ages, many advancements were made towards government. The proclamation made by Henry II (1215), known as the Magna Carta, contributed towards the improvement of government. The Magna Carta guaranteed traditional rights and privileges to all freemen. The Magna Carta additionally limited the power of the monarch, and forced him to respect the law. This meant that the king now had to consult the Great Council before making any vital decisions. The past system of government, feudalism, enabled the king to have complete control over everyone. Barons, men who leased land from the king, had to be trustworthy, and responsible. From a Barons point of view, feudalism consisted of being responsible for your serfs, maintaining and distributing what the serfs produced. The serfs were forced to work long hours in the field in exchange for a small portion of what they produced, and a safe place to live. Feudalism exemplified the theme poverty vs. wealth. The poor were forced to obey the wealthy in order to have a safe home, and stable food supply. The wealthy had complete control of all freemen of Europe. The Magna Carta was the first document in history to limit the power of the monarch. Now the King could get consultation from his council of 25 barons before making decisions. Ideas from the Magna Carta resemble the American document known as the Constitution. Both established basic rights for freemen, and created a group of councilmen that would advise the ruler. The Magna Carta established the first ideas of democracy, and eliminated full power and control to one person.

        The world had many positive and negative effects on medieval culture. “Medieval art and architecture reflected the power of the church” (187).  Kings, nobles, and even townspeople gave money to support the construction of new cathedrals. The beautiful architecture that began during this time period was divided into two categories, Romanesque, and Gothic. Disregarding how beautiful the cathedrals were, they were very expensive and took up to 30 years to build. And that included years of hard work, and money. In later years, local scholars set up centers of learning that later grew into universities. The universities had to protect the interests of students and teachers, create study courses, and settle educational standards. This gave students the motive of becoming a church or government official. Although these new centers of learning were largely beneficial, there were many challenges to founding education. Many new scientific theories led to disputes between the scholars and the church. People were unable to believe Aristotle’s genius theories because they contradicted the beliefs of the church. Regardless of the amount of scientifically advancements made, they were still unable to find a way to fight the terrible disease, the plague. This disease inevitably led to the decline of the Middle Ages.



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