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How did the revival of trade and cities during the High Middle Ages impact European...

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trocket10 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted March 20, 2012 at 2:56 AM via web

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How did the revival of trade and cities during the High Middle Ages impact European society as a whole?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 20, 2012 at 3:13 AM (Answer #1)

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There were many impacts that came about because of this revival.  Let us look at two of the most important.

First, there was the start of capitalism and a money economy.  This was not fully developed yet, but it was beginning.  The money economy was coming to replace barter as it was much easier to use money for all of the trading that now needed to be done.  This led to the creation of banks and of trading companies where there were people whose livelihood came not from making goods but from buying and selling them.  This can be seen as the start of capitalism.

Second, there was a move away from feudalism and towards a system of towns that had their own rights outside of that system.  Trade and towns were not really compatible with the old system of feudal lords with serfs and peasants tied to the land.  Therefore, towns started to be granted charters of their own and the right to exist outside the feudal system.  The feudal system was still strong, but this growth in trade and cities was starting to diminish its power.

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