In  the  earlier  epochs  of  history,  we  find  almost  every­where  a  complicated  arrangement  of  society  into  various orders,  a manifold  gradation  of social  rank.

In ancient Rome we  have  patricians,  knights,  plebeians,  slaves;  in  the  Middle Ages,  feudal  lords,  vassals,  guild-masters,  journeymen, apprentices,  serfs;  in  almost  all of these  classes, again, subor­dinate gradations. The modem bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins  of feudal society has not done away with class antagon­isms.  It  has  but  established  new  classes,  new  conditions  of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones. Our  epoch,  the  epoch  of  the  bourgeoisie,  possesses, however,  this  distinctive  feature:  it  has  simplified  the  class antagonisms.  Society  as  a  whole  is  more  and more  splitting up into  two  great hostile camps, into two great classes direct­ly facing each other:  Bourgeoisie and Proletariat. From  the  serfs  of  the  Middle  Ages  sprang  the  chartered burghers  of the earliest towns.  From these burgesses the first elements of the bourgeoisie were developed.