enclosure

Kale, Caroline

The Agricultural revolution, a change in the way farmers in Great Britain worked their land from 1750-1850, involved many different innovations, such as enclosure, which is the removal of the open field system, and crop rotation, producing different crops on a cycle to maximize production of crops, as well as improve soil health. Enclosure divided the common land into private farms, resulting in the need for only a few wealthier farmers to run the major crop production, forcing the migration of peasant farmers to the cities to work in the growing factory industry. Crop rotation, the process of growing diverse crops in the same area to help restore plant nutrients and lower the amount of pathogens in the soil while increasing the crop yield, resulted in increased agricultural profit for farmers and the nation of Great Britain. The Agricultural Revolution, although a gradual process, produced many significant changes in Great Britain.

The new processes of the Agricultural Revolution, such as of enclosure created major social change, such as technological and economic changes. Because there were now few, but large farms, there was a surplus of crops produced, allowing England to export food to other countries, bringing in increased profits for the nation, as well as expanding their international trade, in turn allowing the country to invest in technological innovations and develop factories. Along with these major social changes, the demographics of urban England changed due to the increased migrant farm workers to the cities to become urban factory workers, due to losing their jobs as farmers. Crop rotation instigated major social change in the category of the economy as well. Similar to enclosure, the process of crop rotation increased the production and efficiency of farming, resulting in the increased exports and availability of crops, boosting the economy of Great Britain, as well as making the few remaining farmers wealthy.

The Agricultural Revolution’s agencies of land enclosure and crop rotation resulted in significant social change for the people of England as well as the economy. The transformation of the farming industry resulted in significant adjustments for the way of life for farmers, many now urban workers, as well as the increased urban development of factories, due to the amplified amount of funds to advance technology. The Agricultural Revolution resulted in major social changes that, despite setting some poorer farmers back, advanced Great Britain’s economy, technology, and changed the demographic of its urban population.

Image source: Image courtesy of http://www.clemson.edu

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