At their worst, these would have put the life of a poor labourer and his family on a par with or perhaps below that of an American slave or a Russian serf .
Those once obliged to be content with the role of feudal serf could now demand high wages and withdraw their labour if they didn't get the freedom and social mobility they requested.
The Village Assemblies, too, have become worse than they were in the days of serfage .
When the Emancipation question was raised there was a considerable diversity of opinion as to the effect which the abolition of serfage would have on the material interests of the two classes directly concerned.
In feudal times the serfs had to rely on the beneficence of the lord of the manor.
Here in the Thirty Years War, the seigneurial system collapsed and serfs refused to perform labour services.
One could argue that the feudal system of lords and serfs was a form of sharecropping.
Under serfdom , agricultural productivity was low, and only 2 or 3 per cent of the total population could be kept under arms, which meant about 700,000 at the front line.
Both had called for redemption of dues and abolition of serfdom and labour services; but others saw that feudalism did not end there.
In the east, in Prussia, Poland, Russia, and the eastern provinces of the Habsburg Monarchy, most of the rural population was bound to the soil and their lords as serfs .