journeyman(redirected from Journeymen)
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in the medieval guild system, an artisan who did not have his own shop but worked for hire for a master, that is, a full member of a guild. At first, most journeymen became masters themselves after a few years of service. However, beginning in the 14th century, and especially in the 15th and 16th centuries, it became increasingly difficult for a journeyman to become a master, owing to growing stratification in the artisan milieu and the desire to limit admission of new members to the guilds. Barriers to admission included an upward revision of the property requirement for those seeking to become masters, as well as an increase in the dues that had to be paid to the guild treasury. Journeyman status gradually became permanent; journeymen were transformed in fact into wageworkers and were exploited more severely. All this resulted in an exacerbation of the struggle between masters and journeymen, the latter banding together in associations such as the compagnonnages in France.