Charles Brown CharlesB at
Wed Feb 7 13:24:11 MST 2001

Some questions that might be asked in the course of looking at this history: Were
Engels and Marx correct or incorrect when they claimed ? :

1) From the serfs of the Middle Ages sprang the chartered burghers of the earliest
towns. From these burgesses the first elements of the bourgeoisie were developed.

2) In the feudal system

a)industrial production was monopolized by closed guilds with guild-masters,
journeymen and apprentices

b) there was a division of labor between the different corporate guilds ( as opposed
to in one workshop as later with the rise of bourgeois manufacturing)

3) The bourgeoisie was an oppressed class under the sway of the feudal nobility, an
armed and self-governing association of medieval commune [4]: here independent urban
republic (as in Italy and Germany); there taxable "third estate" of the monarchy (as
in France); afterward, in the period of manufacturing proper, serving either the
semi-feudal or the absolute monarchy as a counterpoise against the nobility, and, in
fact, cornerstone of the great monarchies in general .

As to whether the bourgeoisie developed in France as well as England, what is the
significance of "bourgeoisie" being a French word ?

Charles Brown

>>> mikey+ at 02/07/01 03:10PM >>>
I would think that in early feudalism, the towns were largely feudal and people in
them owed feudal obligations, e.g. artisans worked on the lords' behalf.  As trade
increased and merchants became more prominent residents in towns, conflict over
feudal obligation probably arose.  Even as early as the 1000s merchants had won
greater control over some towns in what is today Northern Italy and these towns
became "free" towns, free from feudal obligation. (Hence the German saying, "Town
air is free air.")  See Michael Tigar, "Law and the Rise of Capitalism." (MR

Michael Yates

Louis Proyect wrote:

> Rodney Hilton's "The Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism" was published
> by Verso in 1976 just around the time that the Brenner debate had become a
> hot topic. Hilton's book, a collection of articles dating from the
> "Dobb-Sweezy" debate of the early 1950s, might have actually been prompted
> by the latter Brenner debate even though he is never mentioned in Hilton's
> introduction.

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