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BASIC CONCEPTS OF GOVERNMENT

Government (Secondary School)

COMMUNALISM

Communalism refers to a political and economic arrangement in which land, the major factor of production is collectively owned. In a communal community for instance, members pursue a common goal collectively and properties like land are owned collectively and shared among members on an equal basis. In this system, resources are utilized for the general interest of everybody.

 

Features of Communalism

  1. There are no class systems; everybody co-operates with each other;
  2. There is collective ownership of property;
  3. No member is allowed to own a private property;
  4. Members of a communal society share common culture and identity;
  5. The means of exchange is trade by barter;
  6. Everybody has the spirit of co-operation; they help each other in building houses, on the farm etc;
  7. Labour is not sold and there is absence of exploitation;
  8. It promotes collective interest and discourages individual objectives;
  9. The community is allowed to operate at full autonomy with different identities.

 

EVALUATION QUESTION

  1. Define communalism.
  2. State five features of communalism.

 

FEUDALISM

This is a system of government based on land ownership and control. It is a primitive system of government practised in Western Europe in the Middle Ages, as land was owned and controlled by kings and Emperors. The king granted land (fief) to his subjects (vassals) who, as part of their functions must in return work for the king on certain days or fight on his behalf.

 

Feudalism is a form of decentralized oligarchy (government controlled by a few people), based on land ownership. Political leadership was based on land ownership. Industrialization brought about the collapse of Feudalism. Capitalists became influential and the relationship that existed between landowners and their serfs (servants) transformed to that of capitalists and proletariats (labourers).

 

Features of Feudalism

  1. This system was based on land ownership.
  2. The lands were owned by kings or emperors.
  3. The land users (serfs) must in return work and offer services to the king.
  4. It was the duty of the land owners or Lords to protect the serfs.
  5. The feudal tenants must give military assistance to the owner of the land;
  6. The lords exercise governmental power – legislative, military, executive and judicial power over the vassals who have no political right;
  7. There was a class system; the Barons or land owners and the serfs or vassals who had no land;
  8. There was constant war and insecurity in the state.

 

Merits of Feudalism

  1. Feudalism laid the foundation for capitalism;
  2. It instituted orderliness and avoided anarchy;
  3. It provided the serfs with a level of security;
  4. It gave the freed slaves a limited freedom to enter into contracts with a lord;
  5. It fostered among the big landlords self-reliance and love for personal freedom.

 

Demerits of Feudalism

  1. The serfs were brutally oppressed and exploited;
  2. The system gave rise to autocratic leaders who ruled the vassals as they wished;
  3. Loyalty and obedience were to the landowner and not to the government;
  4. The state was divided into semi-independent parts; it could not act as a whole.
  5. There was no national government.

 

EVALUATION QUESTIONS

  1. Explain the term Feudalism.
    • Highlight 5 features of feudalism.

 

GENERAL EVALUATION/REVISION QUESTIONS

  1. Why do we have absence of national government under Feudalism?
  2. Explain the following terms (i) a serf (ii) proletariat.
  3. Differentiate between feudalism and communalism
  4. Why is feudalism no longer evoke?

 

WEEKEND ASSINGMENT

  1. Which of these is not a feature of feudalism?
  2. a) Land b) Serf c) Proletariat
  3. The right to influence the activities of others is called ________
  4. a) Legitimacy b) power c) sovereignty
  5. Power derived from the laws of the land is called __________ power
  6. a) Political b) economic c) traditional
  7. An economic arrangement where land is collectively owned is called _____
  8. a) Feudalism b) communalism c) socialism
  9. The collapse of feudalism is attributed to the rise of _________
  10. a) Fascism b) capitalism c) socialism

 

THEORY

  1. Distinguish between power and authority.
  2. Explain any five features of communalism

 

See also

BASIC CONCEPTS IN GOVERNMENT

BASIC CONCEPTS OF GOVERNMENT

CHARACTERISTICS OF GOVERNMENT

GOVERNMENT

FRENCH COLONIAL ADMINISTRATION

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