The Coming of Modern Agriculture in England
The countryside was open in large parts of England; each villager was allocated strips of land for cultivation at the beginning of each year.
All villagers had access to the common land where they pastured their cows, collected fuel wood and hunted.
Rich farmers were eager to improve their sheep breeds and ensure good feed for them by controlling large areas of land in compact blocks. They began dividing and enclosing common land and building hedges around their holdings for separating it from that of the others. They drove out villagers who had small cottages on the commons, and prevented the poor from entering the enclosed fields. The British Parliament passed 4,000 Acts legalizing these enclosures. New Demands for Grain
In the late eighteenth century, land was enclosed for grain production because ofvarious reasons: The rapid expansion of the British population and urban migration increased the demand for food grains. The prices of food grains increased in England owing to disrupted trade and the import of food grains from Europe, while France was at war with England. The landowners enclosed their lands and enlarged the area under grain cultivation and pressurized the Parliament to pass the Enclosure Acts. The Age of Enclosures
Grain production grew quickly.
The food-grain production increased because the landlords sliced up pasturelands,carved up open fields, cut up forest commons, took over marshes, and turned large areas into agricultural fields. Enclosures became necessary for making long-term investments on land and plan crop rotation for improving the soil; and also allow the richer landowners to expand land under their control and produce more for the market. Impact of Enclosures on the Poor
The poor no longer enjoyed access to the enclosed property of the landowners. They were displaced from the land and were deprived of their customary rights. Labourers had to live with their landowners throughout the year, doing a variety of odd jobs. Work became insecure, employment uncertain and income unstable. Agriculture in America
Till the 1780s, white American settlements were confined to a narrow strip of coastal land in East America. There were various nomadic Native American groups who lived by hunting, gathering, fishing and cultivating. Early 20th century: White Americans had moved westward and established control up to the west coast, displacing local tribes and converting entire landscape into different agricultural belts. The American Indians were forced to sign treaties, give up their land and move westward by the US government. The settlers slashed and burnt forests, pulled out the stumps, cleared the land for cultivation, built log cabins in the forest clearings, erected fences around the fields, ploughed and sowed the land. When the soil was impoverished and exhausted in one place, the migrants moved further west, for exploring new lands and raise a new crop. The Wheat Farmers
There was a dramatic expansion of wheat production in the USA because– The urban population of the USA was growing and the export market was becoming bigger. The spread of the railways made it easier to transport the grain from the wheat growing regions to the eastern coast for export. During the First World War Russian supplies of wheat were cut off and the USA had to feed Europe. The Coming of New Technology
The settlers modified their implements for meeting their requirements in new lands and habitats. They devised a variety of new ploughs and started using tractors and disk ploughs for clearing vast stretches for wheat cultivation.
1831: Cyrus McCormick invented the first mechanical reaper for harvesting crops. Early 20th century: Most of the farmers were using combined harvesters for cutting the standing crops.
Affects of Mechanisation on the Poor