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The Disintegration Of City Autonomy During The Late Middle Ages In Europe

Posted on:2016-08-16Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:R LiFull Text:PDF
GTID:2296330461985257Subject:Political Theory
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With the development of commercial trade, in the middle ages of Europe, the city began to appear, merchants gathered and lived in the city because of the geographical advantages. Initially, the identity of the many urban residents also restricted because of the feudal hierarchy. Its citizenship often obtained by the way of redemption. Due to the fragmented urban pattern and factors such as economic development, city continuously enhances their strength, the citizens for their own demands and common interests, to unite against the Lord oppression, strive for autonomy. Many cities gained autonomy charter, internal affairs gradually handled by the city, the autonomous system formed in the city later also continues to be improved and complete in the later governance practice, adapted to urban expansion and development needs.City autonomy tradition that formed in the middle ages activated the participation spirit, enthusiasm and vigor of urban residents as a governance body, promote their mutual solidarity, to strengthen the urban citizens spirit of collectivism. The fortitude character of citizens, social capital and the virtues of politicians got a continuous value and inheritance in the autonomous environment. Affected by the traditional feudal system, many nobles and elites of religion and secular still existed in the city. Despite the differences between them and citizens in privilege, when they enjoy privileges, they also took the responsibility of help citizens and the provision of public goods, to form a small community core of identity and cohesion in the city. To secular aristocratic elites, it is lifelong pursuit of good fame and reputation. Religious clergy of the church and the parish priest also continuous care and help others to win the spontaneous respect and support of citizens.Interestingly, the city autonomy and citizens’spirit got a quite good development in the Middle Ages, but encountered trouble in terms of identity and cohesion during the late Middle Ages or early modern. No matter the autonomous city chose what kind of regimes, they all got Tocqueville’s "mysterious disease" one after another:public spirit began to disappear in the society, mutual calculation began to appear in citizens. Each religious and secular aristocratic elite also seems to cannot avoid it, they began to seek personal gain, manipulate, sell ranks and titles, fraud also and so on. All of them began to emerge in political endlessly. And the catalysis of the deteriorating social order, prompted people to generally complain, they blamed autonomous city government incompetence, officials and social elite lost integrity, spit trough marks. In this case, the city and a lot of small communities under it had no ability to offer a society with necessary and indispensable "public products". From early enthusiasm for public affairs, citizens began to escape and scorn almost all affairs of traditional transaction, autonomous tradition is unconsciously in the process of such a collapse.City autonomy society appeared this kind of mess, it is no wonder that people put the hope of provide social "public products" outside of the city autonomous community. In some countries, the royal power well seize the opportunity, they provided the necessary order for chaos of the autonomous city, at the same time, meddling in the city, to expand their sovereignty in the form of constant erosion and deprived of rights of their city autonomy. On the basis of the disintegration of urban community in society, they shaped out new power structure of centralized type which was strange for feudal society. Since then, the centralization of central power and the weaken and collapse of urban community in society began to form a vicious cycle of mutual entanglement and stimulation process, for countries like France, this vicious circle has been dragged it into the burned revolution.In Tocqueville’s The Old Regime and The Revolution, although he had seen the decline and collapse of autonomous city during the late Middle Ages, he even faintly speculated the reasons behind decline and collapse. But overall, he seemed to be only back to the centralized constantly strengthened and the disintegration of social autonomous community through his writings on the French Revolution source tracing. Without leading the subject further to social community, how to start up the decline of the problem by itself.This thesis attempts to seek primary reason of the decline of autonomous city during the late Middle Ages and revealing the source of that the French Revolution in deeper, so as to deepen our understanding about this revolution which deeply influenced to the development of modern world history. Through the study of historical materials in a specific period, this thesis show to people about the understanding of the primary reason of French Revolution in such a picture:people’s self-consciousness expanding, secular tide surging, the influence of religious beliefs shrink, the mutual relationship among people was poisoned by rational calculating, the consciousness spirit of dedicated to the autonomous community was gradually disappeared.From this picture, it seem that the initial reason of the decline and disintegration of the autonomous city during the Middle Ages. Thus, when it comes to the analysis of the decline and collapse phenomenon, the expansion of royal power is not the only factor. On the contrary, we can use the decline of urban and rural autonomous community to illustrate that why the royal power was able to successfully expand and annihilate the entire civic society. Therefore, the expansion of self-consciousness and secular trend of surge is "independent variable" which led to the social structural instability. It formed in the daily life, had the spontaneity and primordial, constituted the cause of the French Revolution.Tocqueville through the book of The Old Regime and The Revolution points out a famous and profound paradox that the French Revolution originated from "centralized unceasingly strengthens" and completed in the "strengthening centralization". Because of this deep understanding, more or less, it also hindered Tocqueville to get further mining the source of French Revolution and failed to dig out the underlying reasons about radical idealism revolution and "rationalist politics" which brought disaster to human.The expansion of the "human self-consciousness-secular trend of surge-the influence of religious beliefs shrink-the mutual relationship among people was poisoned by rational calculating-the consciousness spirit of dedicated to the autonomous community was gradually disappeared-community autonomy cannot be inherent to provide necessary public goods-outside of the kingship get an opportunity to enter the autonomy social full penetration".This red line can not only to answer why the strengthening of the centralized can resist the surface attack of revolution and got an indomitable development run through the whole revolution, but also tells us the rational self-conceit of human will give themselves to catastrophe during their unconsciously destroyed traditional society, why people who under this self-conceit always inadvertently opened a "the road to the slavery" when trying to create a "beautiful new world", it also tells us that in a rational era of rapid development with the wings of a scientific and comprehensive, it is necessary for us to make a comprehensive review and reflection about the rational self- conceit of human, to keep necessary prudence and fear about "great wisdom" which left by the tradition and history.
Keywords/Search Tags:City Autonomy, Dismegration of Autonomous Community, The Late Middle Ages of Europe, France, Rationalism
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