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Parallel to the military and political system called feudalism, and acting as the foundation, was an economic system known as manorialism. The two systems were distinct and could exist without each other, but they were often linked by the fact that a vassal generally be received as a fief, the lordship of one or more small, self-sufficient farming villages called manors. Although the typical manor never existed, and although the manorial system was not found in southern Europe and in the Celtic countries, the general features of this system as it prevailed in the feudal Europe of the eleventh century can be broadly sketched. [excerpt]


This is a part of Section II: Medieval, Political, and Economic Development: Feudalism and Manorialism. TheContemporary Civilization page lists all additional sections of Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, as well as the Table of Contents for both volumes.

More About Contemporary Civilization:

From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”

Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitled Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.