Posted by: cjjj1 | January 5, 2009

What Did Citizenship Mean in the Middle Ages Compared to Today?

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     The Middle ages occurred during A.D 500 to A.D. 1500. This was a time of corruption, a time when people were less educated and or ignornant, a time that is also referred to as the dark ages because there is very little information known about it.  The Middle Ages was also a time that inspired the fairy tales that we read about during our childhood; with all the magic, witch craft, and the castles that every little girl wished they lived in awaiting prince charming’



s arrival. Unlike our democracy, the Feudal System was the form of government that existed the Middle Ages and citizenship differed vastly from citizenship today.


       What is a citizen? According to “a citizen is a native or naturalized member of a state or nation who owes allegiance to its government and is entitled to its protection.” In addition, according to Richard Perchlik, “citizenship includes both rights and responsibility. Rights are vitally important and are guaranteed by law. In order for us to retain these rights, we must fulfill certain responsibilities. Citizenship responsibilities are obligations that we either have to or should meet they are equally as important for our society as individual rights. The legal responsibilities include paying taxes, serving as a witness in court if summoned, serving on a jury if called, and serving in military if called and obeying the laws (What Citizen Need To Know About Government, 84).”



Other voluntary responsibilities include voting, taking an active part in government matters, and staying in tune with world event.


      A citizen of the world is a person who is concerned about issues on a global level. A citizen of the world shows respect to other cultures and the ways of life that exist in other parts of the world.  During the Middle Ages everyone was not considered a citizen as we know citizenship to be today. The Feudal System form of government did not allow its citizens to move from one socio-economic level to the next. So if you were born a peasant you would always be a peasant. No matter how hard you worked a peasant would always remain a peasant. Unlike in the Middle Ages, today if you were born poor; with education, opportunity and hard work you will be able to move up in socio-economic status.


    Citizenship, to some people, is considered a right. But to be a citizen of the world, contribution should be made. It’



s not a right but more of a privilege.

The Feudal system really was the decision maker on who was a citizen or not. During the middle ages, lords, people part of the church, and government were citizens. They were higher class and had power. They cooperated and did what they thought was right. On the other hand peasants were only workers on the lowest class. They had little rights and were extremely poor. The only thing they could contribute was their help and that easily went unnoticed. The Dark Age was a confusing, unorganized, and chaotic time period.

      The time period between the Middle Ages and today has sculpted our society. The feudal system is dead, and in today’



s society you have the choice to be a citizen of the world. No matter your opinion of what it takes to become a citizen of the world, it is possible in a world of choices. The main difference between the Middle Ages and today is we have a choice. Children born poor, with nothing, can aspire to do something with their life more than be a peasant, and not be able to move up from that rank in society.  


      To be a citizen of the world is a huge privilage. As a citizen of the world you must influence people around you. During the middle ages people didn’t have the same opportunities as we do now. For example the peasants did not have the same privilages as the people that lived on the manor did. In todays society everyone has equal rights and opportunities.


      To be a citizen of the world you must take part in the worlds “time line”. As a citizen of the world you have to have an effect on the world, and the people in it. You must travel and expirence the world. In Fuedalism the idea of a citizen was someone who was wealthy or royalty. If you were a peasant in the middle ages you were not considered a citizen. Peasants were considered the lowest form of people, making it impossible for them to become a citizen.

       In todays society anyone can become a citizen of the world. All you have to do is be a part of the world, make a difference in any type of way even if all you are doing to help is doing a job. During the middle ages you could have accomplished many things such as working for a lord and making him wealthy, but because of your social class it was nearly impossible to become a citizen or become anything greater then a peasant.

      To be able to be called a citizen of the world you must be a good influence on our world. Even though many people may think that they have no effect on the world or feel that they not really a citizen because they don’t make a huge impact on others like a world leader. In all seriousness they actually are citizens do your part in the world whatever it may be in our opinion is part of being  a citizen of the world. So whether your a high school teacher or the next president of the United states of America they are both considered citizens of the world because they have some impact on society and the world around them. During the middle ages being a citizen was considered a social class you were only a citizen if you were wealthy an came from money or royalty.







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