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European Governance: Factors Leading to Change


In the Medieval Europe, manorial system was the official form of governance. In this structure, all official and economic powers were given to the lord of the manor (North and Thomas 2014). The ancient system of governance was defined by ownership of factors of production. The manor was not only a political system but also a judicial one. The lord of the manor would get his financial support and influence from the contributions from the peasants who were under his authority (North and Thomas 2014). This paper seeks to discuss the factors that contributed to the commercial revolution and the fall of the manorial system in Europe.

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Rise and fall of the manorial system

In the medieval Europe, the association between the lords and their subjects was the main form of governance. In this system, entertainment was depended on agriculture carried out by others (North and Thomas 2014). A knight was a landlord who had a number of peasants under his authority. This system thrived dominantly between the 9th and the 15th century in Europe (North and Thomas 2014).

For a manor to survive, they needed the peasants to support their economic relevance in terms of farm produce. Farming was the major economic activity in the ancient Europe therefore landlords were the rulers of the land. Monarialism also called feudalism was greatly influenced by the characteristic chaotic nature of the ancient Europe (North and Thomas 2014). Community invasions could not allow the development of a centralized government system in Europe so the manorial system succeeded.

England for example had established a centralized governance system prior to the invasion of William the conqueror (North and Thomas 2014). The invasion destabilized the system and threatened to destroy nobility. After the invasion, England decided to pursue a feudal system to preserve the noble’s influence. The fall of feudalism was influenced by many factors. One of the greatest factors that led to the collapse of the feudal system was the shift from land based to a money based economy (North and Thomas 2014).

This crippled the relevance of the landlords and reduced their influence. Due to the rising demand for labor, peasant revolts emerged as the laborers demanded for changes since they knew their value had increased (North and Thomas 2014). The rights and powers of the lords began to decrease and eventually they became very unpopular as the king gradually took over. This led to a centralized government that exists to date.

In terms of military power, feudalism began to fade away when the rich nobles were required to pay for soldiers (North and Thomas 2014). There were concerns about hired killers all over Europe which triggered the need for professional civil soldiers to protect the people (North and Thomas 2014). This is how the standing armies were formed and through the creation of professional soldiers the era of the middle age feudalism ended (North and Thomas 2014).

Factors that caused the commercial revolution in Europe

Climate and the Discovery of sea routes to India and America

The commercial revolution in Europe was triggered by several global and local factors. Some of the main reasons why the revolution took place include the discovery of the sea routes to India and America. This discovery helped to link Europe to the American market and the world as well. The import business grew as spices and new foods from other regions where imported to Europe in large volumes (Lopez 2009). The climatic conditions in Europe could not support some commodities. This caused the expeditions that led to the discovery of the sea routes. In search of better condition to grow crops and a variety of farm produce, Europe had to explore other options.

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Growth in the banking industry

Another reason was the thriving banking industry that greatly influenced the commercial revolution in the region. The banking industry was overwhelmed by the growing needs of the people which forced the government to intervene and give charters. The first bank to receive a government charter was the bank of Amsterdam in 1609 (Lopez 2009).

Government regulations

The government also played a big role in advancing the commercial revolution in Europe. By encouraging the formation of trading companies, the government argued that it was easier to put up with the losses involved in long distance trade as a group than it is individually (Lopez 2009). This revolutionized the methods and scope of doing business introducing new aspects in trade. During this period, the commercial practices also changed hence crating new class of merchants. At this point, the manorial system was rapidly fading out in Europe as a new order was setting in.

Demographical and technological factors

The greatest catastrophe in England that is today called the Black Death was also another reason that led to the decline of the feudal system. At this point, almost a third of England’s population was reduced and this lead to a rise in demand for labor. As the industrialization process progressed, new commercial processes were emerging causing a great shift from the feudal system into a modern commercial environment. The rise in technology changed the demand for land based trade hence the great commercial revolution.


This paper has discuses the major factors that lead to the changes in the system of governance in Europe. The paper has briefly discussed how the feudal system was formed and how it thrived. In addition, the paper has explained the reasons that led to the fall of the system hence changing from a feudal to a centralized government in Europe. Factors leading to the commercial revolution in Europe have also been discussed. The paper clearly describes the changes that took place in Europe from the middle age feudal system to the current modernized system.


Lopez, Robert. “The commercial Revolution of the middle age.” Cambridge University press. 2009. Web.

North, Douglas and Robert Thomas. “The rise and fall of the Manorial system.” The Journal of Economic History 31, no. 1 (2014): 777-803. Web.

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