The Communist Manifesto

by

Karl Marx

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Feudalism is an economic and political system from the medieval period that had a different class set-up than capitalism. In a feudalist society, the king owns all of the land. He then gives some of this land, as “manors,” to noblemen, who in turn provide land to the peasantry in exchange for their labor. There was also a class of serfs, who had no prospect of land ownership and were essentially slaves. Taxes were paid primarily in produce. Marx and Engels see this type of society as being the precursor of the rise of the bourgeoisie, and they characterize both feudalism and capitalism as oppressor vs. oppressed.

Feudalism Quotes in The Communist Manifesto

The The Communist Manifesto quotes below are all either spoken by Feudalism or refer to Feudalism. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet edition of The Communist Manifesto published in 2011.
I. Bourgeois and Proletarians Quotes

The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors,” and has left no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment.” It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom—Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie
Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:

The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself.

But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called in to existence the men who are to wield those weapons—the modern working class—the proletarians.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie, Proletariat
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:
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Feudalism Term Timeline in The Communist Manifesto

The timeline below shows where the term Feudalism appears in The Communist Manifesto. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
I. Bourgeois and Proletarians
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Inequality and Distribution of Wealth Theme Icon
The modern bourgeois society has grown from the old feudal system , simplifying class in the process. Whereas before there were several gradations of class (for... (full context)
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
Work Theme Icon
Following this increased trade, the manufacturing system replaced the old feudal system of industry governed by guilds. The division of work into different guilds turned into the... (full context)
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Bourgeois society had its foundations in feudal society , in terms of the means of production and exchange. At some stage, say Marx... (full context)
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
In place of the restrictions of the feudal system came free market competition, bringing its own social political changes to match. Marx and Engels... (full context)
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Inequality and Distribution of Wealth Theme Icon
Work Theme Icon
...Marx and Engels, change is coming. Those same “weapons” that the bourgeoisie used to defeat feudalism are now being turned against the bourgeoisie itself. The bourgeoisie has unwittingly brought into existence... (full context)
II. Proletarians and Communists
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Intellectual Suppression vs. Empowerment Theme Icon
...evidence, they point to the overthrow of ancient religions by Christianity, Christianity by rationalism, and feudal society by the bourgeoisie. (full context)