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soon grow to be too numerous for its land and would begin to crowd upon others. Some, like the Norsemen, would seek room by sailing away in ships, plundering, How capturing men for slaves, or settling down in a colony clans as chance offered. But the greatest tendency was for sought several clans or tribes to unite, make a combined raid, and thus find new homes. The people whom they conquered might either be killed, or taken and sold for slaves, or kept on the land to do the hard work. This happened when Israel invaded Palestine, when the Saxons invaded Britain, and once more when the Normans invaded England. Even among the conquering clans there would come to be leaders more powerful than common men. For it seems to be only in rather small and peaceful clans that there are no classes. To get a definite picture of how this process of conquering, and serf or slave making worked out, let us imagine ourselves in England seven or eight hundred years ago.
If you were to go into a village or hamlet in early The England, you would find most of the dwellings small Hall cottages. But there would be one called the Hall, which and the
Lord with its barn and other subordinate buildings would be much more spacious, even if it were far from elegant according to modern standards. Here would live some one called the lord. Further scattered over the country would be found castles, still larger and built for military purposes as well as dwellings. Here is evidently a class of men set apart on some basis. You might see in a village in America the same contrast in the size of houses, but it would not mean the same thing. Today it would mean usually that the man in the larger house had gained more wealth, by manufacturing or trading, and had chosen to buy or build the larger dwelling. In the eleventh century, it would
usually mean that the man in the hall or castle had been a successful soldier, who had helped the king, and had been rewarded by being made a lord with important rights over the village and all the land near by. The modern owner of a large house may own much land, or he may own only a small lot. He may chance to be a judge in his town or county, but the chances are he is not. He may happen to be chosen chairman of the town-meeting if he attends, but the court and town-meeting are not likely to be held in his house, and if he is chairman it is because he is chosen, not because he has a right to be always chairman. Suppose now there is an alarm of war. The dweller in the large house is no more likely than any other to enlist in the army, and if the government should make a “ draft," as it is called, of troops, he would be just as likely as any other, but no more likely, to be selected.
In the early English hall or castle the lord was a judge and held the court in his Hall. He presided at the village meetings, for the court was a sort of village meeting rather than what we understand by a court of law. If there was war he was expected to march to the support of the king and to take with him a large number of his “ vassals” or servants, all armed and equipped. Finally, although the king was supposed to be the supreme lord or owner of all the land, the lesser lords, who lived in the halls and castles, had rights over the land of their “ Manor" or district, and were thus like the king, lords of the land, who later came to be landlords. The dweller in the Hall was therefore a judge, a leader of the military forces, and a landlord.
If you should go into the cottages instead of the hall, you would find that almost all the dwellers had shares
The Lord of the Manor
of land. But you would find that whereas they worked for themselves on this land about half the time, they worked the other three days of the week for the lord and received no wages. The women also worked a part of the time at the hall and received no wages. Also, if you suggested to them to give up their farms and move away, you would be surprised to learn that they had no right to do this. And if you saw a brightlooking boy and told him that he ought to study and become a scholar, you would be told that he had no right to do this without the permission of the lord who lived in the hall. People of this sort who were bound to the land
villeins.” They Villeins were half-free, for they worked in part for themselves and had rights in the land; they were seldom sold. But they were not free to leave the Manor, and must work certain days for the lord. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the law came to treat them almost as slaves. They made up by far the largest number of the people of England eight hundred years ago. If your ancestors were English, they were probably most of them villeins.
Were there no free men in England except the lords ? There were a few, but only a few when William the Conqueror took a kind of census of England in 1086. There were a few of the clergy who as a social class stood close to the gentry. There were a few men who tilled land but could sell it and go where they pleased. There were indeed nearly as many slaves as there were “ freemen.” The slaves differed from the serfs or villeins in that they did not belong to the land, and might be sold.
The exact numbers of these different classes in England in 1086 can be estimated from the survey which William the Conqueror had made of the land and its
various kinds of tenants. The book of this survey is called Domesday Book. It shows the following classes:
1. Gentry and Clergy
9,300 Made up of | Tenants in chief
7,900 2. Free holders and Yeomen
12,000 Made up of
23,000 3. Half-free or Unfree
25,000 Altogether there were then 284,000 more or less unfree to 44,300 free-about 7 to 1.
The striking thing is that the great majority of the people were villeins, bordars (who had smaller plots than the villeins), and cottars (cottagers). The two main classes were the gentry, who ruled and came more and more to own the land, and the villeins, who were obliged to do the farm work. How can we explain this difference in classes? There was nothing like this in the simple kinship group of the savage.
The band of warriors
The great explanation for the difference in classes, and for the fact that a few men were found ruling over a great number of men, is that a new force had been discovered. We think of steam and electricity as extraordinary forces; and they have worked a great change in modern life. But probably they have had far less influence than the force of association or cooperation. The early kin group had a certain degree of coöperation, but the Band of Warriors made a new and more powerful kind of group. A small number of trained fighters acting as a compact band could conquer
a far greater number, less united and less well trained. In the ancient world Alexander and his Greeks gave a famous example of what such a band could do under a brilliant leader. Cæsar and his Romans gave another example.
England was conquered several times by successive bands of warriors. The Celts conquered a dark, squat race of earlier people; the Angles and Saxons conquered the Celts; the Danes conquered a considerable part of the Anglo-Saxons; and finally the Normans, who were a sort of high-grade military specialists, made the most thorough conquest of all. What effect would conquest have upon the conquerors and what upon the conquered?
In savage life practically all the men have two oc- The cupations: they help get a living by hunting; they warrior protect the group by fighting. A group which has class
and the begun to farm and also become somewhat more war
working like may still combine getting a living with fighting class Of one German tribe, we read, in Cæsar, that each year half the men cultivated the fields, while the other half was under arms; the next year these
would change tasks. But history shows that this is not usual. The tendency is for the fighting men to form a separate class and leave most other kinds of work to another class. This was so common in the Old World that when Plato was planning an ideal state he thought the natural main division of classes should be into warriors or defenders, on the one hand, and farmers, mechanics, and traders, on the other. In savage society men usually had the rather exciting work of hunting and fighting; whereas safer, and also, it must be said, less exciting tasks, were left to women. It is highly probable that a specialist in fighting will want to leave such monotonous