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“My name is paul sergeant. Welcome once again to ap euro bit. By bit. Where where i try and break down.
Modern european history into small bite. Sized pieces. So you can better understand it for your class or for your own learning. Today s topic.
What was the agricultural revolution. We re gonna take a look at this starting now so before looking at the big changes of the agricultural revolution. We really need to understand what the state of agriculture was like in around 1700 and really the truth is it hadn t changed a whole lot since the middle ages. It was characterized by relatively small farms.
Some open lands that were communally farmed by people within a village. So about 80 of europe s population lived off of agriculture. And that agriculture as i said hadn t changed a whole lot since the middle ages. It would they were using the same technology.
They were using the same methods and they were experiencing the same problems as they had for a long time now basically these open fields were farmed communally. Lots of people would sort of work together in order to get the crop yields. But those yields would not be very good and sometimes that the crops would fail and everybody would fall into famine. They still relied on the open field system under this system crops used a lot of the nutrients in the soil.
And so after a couple of years part of the part of the fields had to be left unfilled. They had to be left. What s called fallow in order to replenish the soil with the nutrients it needed to get more crops in future years. And it in most of europe.
Especially in western europe. Sometimes half to a third of the land was completely not being used at any given time now this all changed in the 18th century and the leaders of the agricultural revolution were really in england and in the netherlands and those two countries are going to come forth and use the ideas of the scientific revolution. The methods of science and apply them to agriculture with some astounding results. So the first feature of the agricultural revolution.
Was the use of improved technology in order to improve agricultural production and one of the guys who really got this started was a guy named charles townsend from england. Now he had travelled to the netherlands and he had seen that they were using some crops in order to actually replenish the soil. And that s sort of what the crops would do and he took that to england. And he tried to make it a more scientific process.
The idea was this if you put nutrient enriching crops on the soil. You wouldn t have to leave those fields fallow you could grow things like clover and beets and that would replenish the soil. So that then can be used again. And he also used animal manure as fertilizer which we still do today if you know and you live in the country.
Let me tell you having been to certain areas of farming land pennsylvania around. Where i live they re still using manure now one of the nice byproducts of this is that if you have more food coming out more food being produced you can use more of that food not for your own family. But also to feed your livestock. Which means that the livestock can be kept alive during the winter.
Which allows for fresh meat. People didn t have to slaughter all their animals at the harvest season and then preserve the meat and hope that it was still edible by the time you know they had more meat now they could have animals they fed year round. And when it was time that they needed me boy there. It was and it was fresh not rotten.
Wow. What a change and then you have the big invention of a guy named jethro tull. Oh not that jethro tull. What we re talking about the jethro tull.
Who invented the seed drill and the seed drill was a mechanized machine ish kind of prototype that a farmer to plant rows of crops. They would roll it along it would plant the seeds at a specific distance from one another and at a specific depth. So that seeds weren t just thrown on the ground like they had been before it was much more scientific and produced much much better yields. Very big move forward.
So. The second feature of the agricultural revolution was really the arrival of new crops from the new world. I mean tomatoes potatoes corn these things became huge staple crops and in places like ireland the potato became sort of the mainstay crop of the entire population well not the entire population. But certainly the people who were in need of food at the time in a very small amount of land you farm a large amount of potatoes and they can be eaten all the time in lots of different ways and they can sustain a population of course the downside of that is they ve you sustained.
Most of your population of one crop and a disease hit that hits that crop then you ve got a real problem on your hands. And that foreshadows the middle of the 19th century. But we ll get to that later anyway as these new crops came in and his new staple foods were available. It changed.
The face of agriculture. So that different fields could be planted with different crops and different foods were available to support lots more people. And so you have more population and then finally and perhaps most controversially you have the enclosure movement and this really starts in england. Where large landowners begin to enclose their fields.
So that they can start raising sheep on them. Now the great thing about sheep is that you can use the wool in order to make fabrics. Which will become the beginning of the english industrial revolution. Well the world industrial revolution.
And so you ve got these sheep and then they re on these enclosed fields. But the enclosed fields are enclosed around the old common lands that the peasants used to farm communally and so those people are very often kicked off the land plus in order to help bolster the prices of crops inside of england parliament passes a series of corn laws. Which are very controversial because what they do is they put high tariffs on imported grains and thus help out industry inside of england. But it drives up the prices of the food inside of england.
So that the people who are having a hard time getting by before had an even harder time being for the food that they needed now very controversial. But it did help the large landowners. One of the biggest impacts is that you have a lot of people in the countryside. Who are forced off their lands.
And they only have one real choice in where to go. And what to do and that s to move to the towns in the cities. Which are quickly growing up which see an increase in population whose. All we re all looking for work in ways to feed their family and bolster the coming industrial revolution foreshadowing we ll get there later so really you can say that the agricultural revolution.
Had really. Four main impacts on the european civilization. Especially that in britain first of all it led to the population explosion that we see into the 18th century. Where more and more people are being born because there s more and more food available and more and more reliable sources of food and varieties of food and so people say hey we got lots of food.
We ought to worry about survival let s have kids. But it also number to radically change lifestyle in the countryside with the rise of agriculture in a scientific method you got rid of the communal lands that form the basis of community in these small villages and as more and more people moved out of the villages headed for the cities. You saw a depopulation in the countryside and an increase in population in the cities. Which caused its own problems for the people living in the cities.
That we re now finding themselves a little bit overcrowded and not really able to deal with i with problems such as sewage and sanitation and housing and all those sorts of things also many historians say that women were really losers in this because where women were relatively equal in the farming community. Where the entire family had to work together as a unit in order to farm. Once this became more of a scientific approach and things like that the role of women sort of devolved into a more domestic role and especially as people move to the cities women are are more and more domestic eyes and women who move to the cities often find themselves doing domestic work such as taking care of the children of the wealthy and eventually working in mills and things like that and in the worst cases living off prostitution in order to make ends. Meet and finally as a whole as more food being produced the price of food tended to go down.
And as people began to spend less and less of their income on food. They had more and more disposable income to spend on other things. Which creates the need for more products and their going to be met by guess what the industrial revolution anyway so that s a very brief overview of the agricultural revolution. I hope this is helping.
I hope you re understanding these things please let me know in the comments. If you have any questions or suggestions for new topics that you think need to be covered and as always my name is paul sargent. ” ..
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