A History of Political Economy

By John Kells Ingram | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III.
THE MIDDLE AGES.

THE Middle Ages ( 400-1300 A.D.) form a period of great significance in the economic, as in the general, history of Europe. They represent a vast transition, in which the germs of a new world were deposited, but in which little was fully elaborated. There is scarcely anything in the later movement of European society which we do not find there, though as yet, for the most part, crude and undeveloped. The mediæval period was the object of contemptuous depreciation on the part of the liberal schools of the last century, principally because it contributed so little to literature. But there are things more important to mankind than literature; and the great men of the Middle Ages had enough to do in other fields to occupy their utmost energies. The development of the Catholic institutions and the gradual establishment and maintenance of a settled order after the dissolution of the Western empire absorbed the powers of the thinkers and practical men of several centuries. The first mediæval phase, from the commencement of the fifth century to the end of the seventh, was occupied with the painful and stormy struggle towards the foundation of the new ecclesiastical and civil system; three more centuries were filled with the work of its consolidation and defence against the assaults of nomad populations; only in the final phase, during the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries, when the unity of the West was founded by the collective action against impending Moslem invasion, did

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A History of Political Economy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface. v
  • Bibliographical Note. xiv
  • Contents xvii
  • Chapter I - Introductory. 1
  • Chapter II - Ancient Times. 7
  • Chapter III - The Middle Ages. 24
  • Chapter IV - Modern Times: First and Second Phases. 32
  • Chapter V - Third Modern Phase: System of Natural Liberty. 55
  • Chapter VI - The Historical School. 196
  • Chapter Vil - Conclusion. 240
  • Index 247
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