18th Century: Expansion of Europe Essay

Chapter 19: The Expansion of Europe in the 18th Century Agriculture and the land 1) Complete this statement about the common people, “life remained a struggle with poverty and uncertainty with the landlord and the tax collector. 2) What was the basic problem of ordinary men and women in 1700 in Europe? • Living standards were poor: The common man were poor and worked long and hard hours in poverty. There was a lack of warm clothing, housing, and good food. Yields for all of the farming were alarmingly low.

At times, harvests failed completely. When there was a famine, people turned to whatever source of nutrients there was. The previous wars hurt the peasantry. For example, the religious wars in Germany destroyed the soil of the land. 3) How does a gradual change begin to take place in Europe as the 18th c unfolds? • Europe began to expand: Population started expanding and the colonies of European powers grew. • The seeds of the Industrial Revolution were planted in the 18th century.

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4) Describe the economy of Europe at the end of the 1700s. Use some numbers given in your textbook to illustrate the precarious position of the common people. • The economy was largely agrarian with people “living off the land. ” The poor lived in poverty and turned to famine foods during times of crisis.

In such times of crisis many died.A county in Finland lost 28 percent of its population due to a famine from 1696-1697. The Open-field System 5) Explain the medieval “open field” system: • The land was divided into large, unfenced plots in an open-field system. Peasants would farm each field as a group. • A common land was set aside for the village’s animals to graze in. After the harvest, these animals would eat the stubble of the fields.

Some of the very poor women would also participate in this post-harvest gathering. ) What problems did the farmers using an open-field system face and what solutions did they come up with? • In order to avoid exhausting the soil, peasants rotated what they would farm based on a schedule. If this wasn’t done, famine was inevitable. o fallow was done every one to two years to prevent soil exhaustion. 7) What is “gleaning” and how did it benefit some people in the open-field system of agriculture? Make sure you look at the famous painting depicting “The Gleaners”.

• Gleaners were poor women that took the missed grain that harvesters and animals missed.This practice established by a long tradition benefited the unsupported women of the community. 8) “The privileges of Europe’s ruling elites weighed heavily on the people of the land. ” Give concrete examples of this from your reading. • In Eastern Europe, serfs were bound to the land and sometimes sold as property.

Serfs worked most days with no pay and much of their yields were taken. • In Western Europe, peasants could own land and pass it to their descendants, but life was still hard. In France, it was estimated that 1/10 of peasants could live satisfactorily off of their yields.Agriculture Revolution 9) Read this section and outline some possible steps that the commoners could and did take to improve their difficult position. • A very gradual agricultural revolution was taking place that allowed for farmers to relieve themselves of planting fallow. To do this, grains and nitrogen storing crops peas and potatoes were rotated.

Crop rotation became sophisticated as patterns were introduced to suit certain kinds of soils. • Through the use of crop rotation, there was more food to grow a herd of animals, meaning more manure and in effect more food. When enclosure was beginning to be introduced, many peasants in western Europe resisted losing their ancient rights to an open field and succeeded in doing so (in part due to the nobles not wanting to pay for the change). 10) What is “enclosure”? How did it differ from the traditional open field system? What implications did it have for the village people? • An enclosure system, the land was divided into small plots that were farmed by individuals rather than the community in an open field system. This was advocated by the same people (scientists, big landowners) that advocated crop rotation.

To a villager, this system means giving up rights that peasants held for hundreds of years. For a people that had very few rights to begin with, this was upsetting. Nobles opposed this movement too as it required a hefty investment. The Leadership of the Low Countries and England 11) The Dutch were the leaders in the agricultural revolution. Make a list of positive things that the Dutch had going for them that made this possible. •17th C Holland was a republic and therefore much more liberal than most of Europe.

This made the Dutch more willing to experiment with new methods of farming rather than sticking to tradition. The Low Countries were extremely dense in population at the time. This led to a need to make agriculture as efficient as possible in order to feed the masses. • In the 17th C, the Low Countries urbanized and its trading ports grew. This gave Dutch peasants a good market, stimulating an improvement in crop production. 12) The ________English______________ were the Dutch’s best students. Tell what the English learned from the Dutch.

• Drainage and water control: Since Holland had been a damp marsh, the Dutch developed sophisticated ways to control water. This helped drain the wet and rainy England. Enclosed fields, continuous rotation, heavy manuring, and a wide variety of crops were all present in Holland. 13) What did the following men do? Cornelius Vermuyden, Charles Townshend, Jethro Tull • Cornelius Vermuyden: Conducted a large drainage project in Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire and farmed the land in the Dutch manner. This became some of the best farmland in England. • Jethro Tull: Used empirical research to try to develop better farming methods. He advocated the use of horses rather than oxen for plowing and sowing seeds with drilling equipment instead of scattering them by hand.

Selective breeding was used by him to create animals suitable for a farm. • Charles Townshend: Introduced turnips and clover into crop rotation 14) What positive effects did the English reap as they transformed their agricultural methods? • The drained land exposed many more acres of farm land. • The better methods of farming led to better yields just as it helped the Dutch. In 1870, England produced 300 percent more food than in 1700.

This helped the growing urban population. • Selective breeding helped create optimized farm animals. The Cost of Enclosure 15) Read this section and then using bullets give “the cost” of enclosure.

Minimum of 6 bullet points. • The cost of paying for the enclosures was in part burdened on the peasants. • Landless peasants lost their right to a common land. • Independent farmers could not compete with the profit-minded tenant farmers that spearheaded the agricultural revolution in England. • Landless peasants worked long hours • The common landless worker lost some rights that were held under the common land • Peasants were dependent on the cash wages of middle-size farmers that rented from the elite landowners • The landless proletariat found the changes unjust


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