Front Page Titles (by Subject) (a) the emancipation of the peasantry - The State
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(a) the emancipation of the peasantry - Franz Oppenheimer, The State 
The State: Its History and Development viewed Sociologically, authorized translation by John M. Gitterman (New York: B.W. Huebsch, 1922).
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(a) the emancipation of the peasantry
All this follows as a natural consequence of the basic premise of the feudal state. The more the great private landlords become a landed nobility, the more in the same measure must the feudal system of natural economy break to pieces. The more great landed property rights become vested in and nurtured by the princes of territorial states, the more is the feudal system based on payments in kind bound to disintegrate; one may say that the two keep step in this development.
So long as the ownership of great estates is comparatively limited, the primitive principle of the bee-keeper, allowing his peasants barely enough for subsistence, can be carried out. When, however, these expand into territorial dimensions, and include, as is regularly the case, accretions of land which are the results of successful warfare, or by the relinquishment and subinfeudation through heritage or political marriages of smaller land owners, scattered widely about the country and far from the master’s original domains, then the policy of the bee-keeper can no longer be carried out. Unless, therefore, the territorial magnate means to keep in his pay an immense mass of overseers, which would be both expensive and politically unwise, he would have to impose on his peasants some fixed tribute, partly rental and partly tax. The economic need of an administrative reform unites, therefore, with the political necessity, to elevate the “plebs,” in the way which has already been discussed.
The more the territorial magnate ceases to be a private landlord, the more exclusively he tends to become a subject of public law, viz., prince of a territory, the more the solidarity mentioned above, between prince and people grows. We saw that some few magnates even as far back as the period of transition from great landed estates to principalities, found it to their greatest interest to carry on a “mild” government. This accomplished the result, not only of educating their plebs to a more virile consciousness toward the state, but also had the effect of making it easy for the few remaining common freemen to give up their political rights in return for protection; while it was still more important, in that it deprived their neighbors and rivals of their precious human material. When the territorial prince has finally reached complete de facto independence, his self interest must prompt him steadfastly to persevere in the path thus begun. Should he, however, again invest his bailiffs or officers with lands and peasants, he will still have the most pressing political interest to see to it that his subjects are not delivered over to them without restraint. In order to retain his control, the prince will limit the right of the “knights” to incomes from lands to definite payments in kind and limited forced labor, reserving to himself that required in the public interests, such as forced labor on highways or on bridges. We shall soon come to see that the circumstance that in all developed feudal states the peasants have at least two masters claiming service, is decisive for their later rise.
For all these reasons, the services to be required of peasants in a developed feudal state must in some fashion be limited. Henceforth, all surplus belongs to him free from the control of the landlord. With this change, the character of landed property has been utterly revolutionized. Heretofore the landlord, as of right, was entitled to the entire revenue saving only what was absolutely necessary to permit his peasants to subsist and continue their brood; while hereafter, the total product of his work, as of right, belongs to the peasant, saving only a fixed charge for his landlord as ground rent. The possession of vast landed estates has developed into (manorial) rights. This completes the second important step taken by humanity toward its goal. The first step was taken when man made the transition from the stage of bear to that of the bee-keeper, and thereby discovered slavery; this step abolishes slavery. Laboring humanity, heretofore only an object of the law, now for the first time becomes an entity capable of enjoying rights. The labor motor, without rights, belonging to its master, and without effective guarantees of life and limb, has now become the taxpaying subject of some prince. Henceforth the economic means, now for the first time assured of its success, develops its forces quite differently. The peasant works with incomparably more industry and care, obtains more than he needs, and thereby calls into being the “city” in the economic sense of the term, viz., the industrial city. The surplus produced by the peasantry calls into being a demand for objects not produced in the peasant economy; while at the same time, the more intensive agriculture brings about a reduction of those industrial by-products heretofore worked out by the peasant house industry.
Since agriculture and cattle-raising absorb in ever increasing degrees the energies of the rural family, it becomes possible and necessary to divide labor between original production and manufacture; the village tends to become primarily the place of the former, the industrial city comes into being as the seat of the latter.