Ch 11 The Industrial Revolution

CH.11-THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

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CHAPTER XI: THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

SECTION 1: AGRICULTURE

 

THE 18th CENTURY BELONGED TO AGRICULTURE, BUT CHANGES TOOK PLACE IN TECHNIQUES AND ORGANISATION THAT CREATED CONDITIONS FOR THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION.

THE RURAL POPULATION WERE DRIVEN FROM THE LAND BY THE TRANSFORMATION TO A CAPITALIST INDUSTRY.

 WHEAT PRICES BECAME RELATIVELY STABLE AFTER SEVEN WET HARVESTS AND EXPORTS INCREASED FROM 1700 TO 1765.

ANY PROBLEMS WERE CAUSED BY POOR TRANSPORT, AND IT WAS NOT UNTIL THE CANALS WERE BUILT THAT GRAIN COULD BE EASILY SHIPPED FROM THE MIDLANDS. THE EAST AND SOUTH MIDLANDS, WHICH WERE NEARER RIVERS, AND THE COAST HAD ADVANTAGES.

AFTER THE REVOLUTION OF 1688, THERE WAS RAPID DEVELOPMENT IN AGRICULTURE. TURNIPS AND CLOVERS WERE INTRODUCED. TWO CORN, ONE FALLOW AND ONE ROOT OR GRASS CROP ROTATION BEGAN TO BE INTRODUCED WTH SPECTACULAR RESULTS.

TO GET THE FULL VALUE FROM THIS ROTATION AND FROM NEW CROPS, DEEP PLOUGHING AND HOEING WERE INTRODUCED, BREAKING UP THE SOIL AND KEEPING IT WEED FREE.


ADDED TO THIS WERE GREAT STRIDES IN LIVESTOCK BREEDING OF SHEEP AND CATTLE, WHICH UP TO THIS TIME HAD BEEN REARED FOR WOOL OR DRAUGHT ANIMALS.

THE BULK OF CATTLE WERE SLAUGHTERED EVERY AUTUMN BECAUSE OF THE SCARCITY OF WINTER FODDER. ‘STORING’ CATTLE MEANT STARVING THEM UNTIL THE SPRING GRASS CAME.

NOW BEASTS WERE FED ON ROOTS OR SURPLUS CORN. SHEEP/CATTLE SOLD AT SMITHFIELD IN 1710 WERE 28/370lbs. IN 1795, IT WAS 80/800lbs.

NEW METHODS OF BREEDING AND THE USE OF FARMYARD MANURE FROM HOUSED ANIMALS INCREASED YIELDS OF CORN.

THE DEMAND FOR CORN AND MEAT GREW WITH THE INCREASE IN POPULATION, AND HORSES REPLACED OXEN FOR DEEP PLOUGHING.

THE RESULT OF THIS WAS INCREASED PROFITS FROM THE APPLICATION OF CONSIDERABLE AMOUNTS OF CAPITAL.

PIONEERS OF NEW METHODS, RICH LANDOWNERS FARMING LARGE ESTATES, WERE SUBSTANTIAL MEN, LIKE JETHRO TULL, LORD (TURNIP) TOWNSHEND, COKE OF HOLKSHAM AND BAKEWELL, WHO IMPROVED CROPS, MACHINERY AND LIVESTOCK.

THE TECHNICAL REVOLUTON LED TO CHANGE IN THE WHOLE STRUCTURE OF RURAL ENGLAND. WHILE THE ENCLOSURES OF EARLIER TIMES HAD BEEN MADE TO TURN ARABLE INTO SHEEP PASTURES, THOSE IN THE 18th CENTURY TRANSFORMED FIELDS INTO COMMUNALLY CULTIVATED OPEN LANDS AND LARGER MORE COMPACT FARMS. COMMON LAND WENT UNDER THE PLOUGH, AND LONG STANDING PRACTICES OF PASTURAGE, WOOD OR TURF CUTTING, ALONG WITH WASTE LAND, WERE BROUGHT INTO BETTER PRODUCTION.


SMALLER FARMERS AND TENANTS WERE GRADUALLY EVICTED OR RUINED BY MASSIVE RENT INCREASES. SMALL FARMS OF LESS THAN 100 ACRES DIMINISHED IN FAVOUR OF THOSE OVER 300 ACRES. THE ENCLOSURE ACTS OF PARLIAMENT NUMBERED 15 AND COVERED MORE THAN FOUR MILLION ACRES.

BEGINNING IN NORFOLK AND ESSEX THEN THE MIDLANDS, ENCLOSURES WERE TRANSFORMED. THE GROWTH IN POPULATION CHANGED ENGLAND FROM AN EXPORTING COUNTRY TO AN IMPORTING NATION AT A TIME WHEN FEW COUNTRIES HAD A SURPLUS OF CORN.

PRICES ROSE RAPIDLY, AND, WHILE GOOD PROFITS WERE MADE IN THE 18th CENTURY, FORTUNES WERE MADE (AND COULD BE LOST) IN THE 19th CENTURY.

WHEN WAR CUT OFF EUROPEAN GRAIN SUPPLIES, PRICES FLUCTUATED AND CORN GROWING BECAME A GAMBLE. ONLY THOSE WITH AMPLE RESOURCES COULD HOPE TO SURVIVE.

THIS ATTRACTED CAPITALISTS TO INVEST IN LANDED PROPERTIES AND WEAKENED MORE THAN EVER THE POSITION OF THE SMALLER FARMER.

ACTS OF ENCLOSURES WERE OBTAINABLE BY IMPROPER PRESSURE AND BRIBERY. TENANTS COULD EASILY BE BOUGHT. FORCE AND FRAUD PREVAILED.

AFTER AN ACT HAD BEEN OBTAIND, THE LAND WAS REALLOCATED. EVEN SURVIVING TENANTS LOST LAND THEIR FAMILES HAD FARMED FOR GENERATIONS.

COPY AND LEASE HOLDERS AND EVEN FREEHOLDERS WERE PERSUADED TO SELL OUT DUE TO LEGAL AND FENCING COSTS INVOLVED.

THE ACTS OF PARLIAMENT, UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF WEALTHY LANDOWNERS, AMOUNTED TO CONFISCATION.

SOME FARMERS BECAME MERCHANTS OR MANUFACTURERS, BUT THE VAST MAJORITY SPENT THEIR MONEY QUICKLY AND SANK TO THE POSITION OF WAGE LABOURERS, WHETHER ON THE LAND OR IN THE INDUSTRIAL TOWNS.

THE THIRD CLASS, THE COTTAGERS, FOUND THEIR RIGHTS EVEN MORE RUTHLESSLY VIOLATED. FEW COULD ESTABLISH ANY LEGAL GROUNDS OVER VILLAGE COMMON LAND, AND A WHOLE CLASS THAT HAD LIVED BY VIA DOMESTIC INDUSTRY WAS DESTROYED BY COMPETITION FROM THE NEW FACTORIES.

LORD ERNLE FILLS THREE PAGES OF HIS “ENGLISH FARMING PAST AND PRESENT” WITH A LIST OF LOCAL AND DOMESTIC INDUSTRIES THAT WERE DESTROYED AT THIS TIME.

FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE 18th CENTURY, DEVELOPMENTS IN AGRICULTURE ALSO MADE IT POSSIBLE TO ECONOMISE ON LABOUR. WAGES FELL RAPIDLY, COTTAGES WERE DESTROYED OR BECAME RUINS AS THE EXODUS BEGAN, AND STANDARDS OF LIFE DECLINED IN RURAL ENGLAND.

NO RELIABLE FIGURES ARE AVAILABLE, BUT THE REVOLUTION IN AGRICULTURE HAD THREE RESULTS WHICH WENT FAR BEYOND AGRICULTURE ITSELF.

FIRSTLY, INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY OF THE LAND MADE IT POSSIBLE TO FEED THE GREAT INDUSTRIAL POPULATION OF THE NEW TOWNS.

SECONDLY, IT CREATED A RESERVE ARMY OF WAGE EARNERS, NOW ‘FREED’ FROM THE LAND: ‘FREE’ LABOURERS CORRESPONDING TO ‘FREE’ CAPITAL ACCUMULATED. A COMING TOGETHER OF THIS LABOUR AND CAPITAL OCCURRED AT A TIME WHEN LARGE SCALE PRODUCTION OF COMMODITIES WAS AT LAST POSSIBLE, WHICH IS IN ESSENCE THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION.

THIRDLY, THE CREATION OF A VASTLY INCREASED INTERNAL MARKET FOR MANUFACTURED GOODS.

PREVIOUSLY, THE SUBSISTENCE FARMER WITH HIS DOMESTIC INDUSTRY AND ISOLATION FROM THE OUTSIDE WORLD MIGHT CONSUME A GOOD DEAL AND YET BUY VERY LITTLE. THE LABOURER INTO WHOM HE HAD EVOLVED WAS COMPELLED TO CONSUME A GREAT DEAL LESS, BUT EVERYTHING CONSUMED HAD TO BE BOUGHT.

A GREAT EXPORTING INDUSTRY COULD BE BUILT UP ONLY AS A RESULT OF SUCH A SUBSTANTIAL HOME MARKET.

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