Throughout the 1500 to 1600’s, the plight of the peasants in Eastern Europe changed dramatically. The social, legal, and economic conditions of the peasants continued to decline. Free peasants lost their freedom and were forced to become serfs. Nobles gained complete control over their peasants in which they could do whatever they wished to do to them. During the 1500 to 1600’s, the peasants of Eastern Europe were in the process of having their lives changed by the decline in the social, legal, and economic parts of society.
The social plight of the peasants during the 1500 to 1600’s was dramatically curved from what they were used to. The lords made their princes and kings state laws that restricted the peasants right of free movement.…show more content… Agricultural depression and population decline led to a labor shortage, which led to some lords tieing their peasants to the land. Most eastern European monarchs thought in private instead of for the public. The king wanted to get as much as possible out of his peasants. The lords would take the peasants land to add to their estates as well as demand for more peasant labor. Specifically, Germany and Poland increased their estates because the lords had strong economic incentives. The peasants were also stripped of their right to sell goods since the lords would sell directly to foreign capitalist instead of going through local merchants. The lords were required in the Middle Ages to sell to the local merchants, but no longer were in these times. For example, Dutch ships would completely skip over the local towns and would sail directly into the ports of the great estates. Another example is how the poor east helped to funnel the rich west because the surpluses of wheat and timber were easily sold to the merchants who sold them to the bigger foreign markets. People also did not feel free anymore after the eastern towns had lost their medieval right of refuge and were forced to return runaways back to their