Medieval Times and the Development of the Middle Class

In ancient times the commoners were known as the people. These were simply the farmers, tradesmen, labors, and servants who formed the major part of the population. Early on in history the commoners were typically the farmers who labored in farms, fields, towns, and villages. They were the workers, simple and unskilled. These were the ones who suffered the most from the concentration of wealth in a few hands.

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A commoner, also called the common man, the commoners, or the common people, in earlier usage was an average person in a rural community or country who had no major social position, particularly one who wasn’t a member of either the aristocratic, royal, or noble class. He may have owned a small piece of land, or perhaps his wealth was enough to support him. This social division between the commoners and the aristocratic or higher class members of society made life difficult for the commoners at the time. They did not enjoy equal treatment with the more affluent, and they did not hold the rank, authority, or position that the more affluent people did. Although some were able to defend themselves or their families from unjust attacks, there was still no guarantee that they would be treated equally in the community or country.

During the middle ages, however, the social division between the commoners and the nobles began to fade away. The clergy, the politicians, and the doctors that were either elite, or influential were now seen as commoners by the mainstream population. Although the nobility still had its power and wealth, they were no longer viewed as a separate class, but as a better class of people. By the fifteenth century the commoners were primarily the ones who formed the middle class which later became the major driving force behind the development of modern industrial societies and civilizations.

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