Essay on Total Land Reform

Submitted By Sirsangel
Words: 1946
Pages: 8

1)Agriculture and the Land
a)End of 17th century, Eur agrarian, 80% drew livelihood from agriculture
b)Output was weak, when crops failed ppl forced to eat famine foods- grass, bark, nuts. Famine years made ppl susceptible to illness, population decline
c)Europeans produced barely enough food in good years and agonized thru years of famine
d)The Open-Field System
i)System that divided land to be cultivated by peasants of a village into several large fields, which were in turn cut up into narrow strips, individual or peasant family held scattered strips, farmed each field as a community ii)Exhaustion of soil a problem due to nitrogen depletion- fallow every other year, later three-year rotation introduced w/ crop rotation iii)Common lands set aside for herd and natural pasture iv)The Gleaners by Jean Francois Millet- women picking up remains of grain
v)State and landlord levied heavy taxes and high rents, stripped peasants of earnings
(1)Easter Europe peasants bound to landlord, worked some days without pay
(2)West Eur. peasants generally free from serfdom, owned land and could pass it on to children—poverty still great for most ppl
e)The Agricultural Revolution
i)One way of progress was to overthrow those who owned land but did not work it, but conditions to do so were not right ii)Technological progress could allow Eur to produce and eat more
(1)Agricultural revolution- eliminating the fallow, thereby increasing the land under cultivation by 50%
(2)Involved alternating grain with nitrogen storing crops that rejuvenated soil and gave more produce—peas, beans, turnips, potatoes, clovers, grasses
(3)Sophisticated patterns of crop rotation developed to suit different soils iii)More food allowed for more animal feed, more meat better diets, more fertilizer from animals w/ manure iv)Advocates for new crop rotations argued for the need to enclose and consolidate their scattered holdings into compact, fenced-in fields in order to farm more effectively, also enclose individual shares of the common--- strong opposition from peasants and landlords + nobles
f)The Leadership of the Low Countries and England
i)Holland and Low countries very advanced, England and French jealous ii)Strong middle-class society employed enclosed fields, continuous rotation, heavy manuring, and wide variety of crops iii)Low Countries some of the most densely populated areas of Eur, in order to feed themselves were forced to seek maximum yields for lands iv)Growth of towns and cities stimulated new markets for produce
v)England learned from Dutch
(1)Cornelius Vermuyden, Dutch engineer, led drainage projects in Eland—converted swamps and forests into thousands of acres of farmland
(2)Viscount Charles Townsend (1674-1738)- pioneers of English agricultural improvement, led to increased harvests and incomes
(3)By 1740 agricultural improvement became craze among aristocracy
(4)Jethro Tull (1674-1741)- tried to develop better methods thru empirical research- drilling seeds, using horses, selective breeding of livestock
(5)Increased crops provided food for rapidly growing urban population
g)The Cost of Enclosure
i)Aristocracy benefited directly from higher yields that could support higher rents, initiative and enterprise of big English landowners compared to continental landowners ii)Laws passed by Parliament to survey land led to heavy expenses, smaller landowners had to sell out to pay dues, landless cottagers lost access to common pasture dealing families a blow b/c couldn’t raise livestock iii)By 1700 clear pattern of landownership and production
(1)Few large landowners at one end, large mass of landless cottagers who labored mainly for wages on the other
(2)In between were two groups: small independent farmers who owed their own land and prosperous tenant farmers who sold output on cash market
(3)Small independent farmers decreasing, profit-minded market-oriented tenant farmers increased- key to mastering new farming methods