Chapter 19 - The Expansion of Europe in the Eighteenth Century

    Agriculture and the land

    1. By 1700 in most regions of Europe most people faced frequent famine and an agricultural system not much changed since the days of ancient Greece.
    2. The openfield system
      1. The openfield system, developed during the Middle Ages, divided the land into a few large fields, which were then cut up into long, narrow strips.
      2. The fields were farmed jointly by the community, but a large portion of the arable land was always left fallow.
      3. Common lands were set aside for community use.
      4. The labor and tax system throughout Europe was unjust, but eastern European peasants suffered the most.
        1. There were few limitations on the amount of forced labor the lord could require.
        2. Serfs could be sold.
      5. By the eighteenth century most peasants in western Europe were free from serfdom, and many owned some land.
    3. The agricultural revolution
      1. It was not possible for the peasants to increase their landholdings by taking land from the rich landowners.
      2. The use of idle fallow land by crop rotation increased cultivation, which meant more food.
        1. The secret was in alternating grain crops with nitrogenstoring crops, such as peas and beans, root crops, and grasses.
        2. This meant more fodder for animals, which meant more meat for the people and more manure for fertilizer.
        3. These improvements necessitated ending the openfield system by "enclosing" the fields.
      3. Enclosure of the open fields also meant the disappearance of common land which hurt the small landholders and village poor.
        1. Many peasants and some noble landowners opposed these changes.
        2. The enclosure process was slow, and enclosed and open fields existed side by side for a long time.
        3. Only in the Low Countries and England was enclosure widespread.
    4. The leadership of the Low Countries and England
      1. By the middle of the seventeenth century, the Low Countries led in intensive farming.
        1. This Dutch lead was due largely to the need to feed a growing population.
        2. The growth of the urban population provided good markets for the produce.
      2. Dutch engineers such as Vermuyden helped England drain its marshes to create more arable land.
        1. Townsend was one of the pioneers of English agricultural improvement.
        2. Tull advocated the use of horses for plowing and drilling equipment for sowing seeds.
    5. The cost of enclosure
      1. Some historians argue that the English landowners were more efficient than continental owners, and that enclosures were fair.
      2. Others argue that the enclosure acts forced small peasants and landless cottagers off the land.
      3. In reality, the enclosure and the exclusion of cottagers and laborers had begun as early as the sixteenth century.
        1. It was the independent peasant farmers who could not compete, and thus began to disappear.
        2. The tenant farmers, who rented land from the big landlords, benefited from enclosure.
        3. By 1815 a tiny minority of English and Scottish landlords held most of the land--which they rented to tenants, who hired laborers.
      4. The enclosure movement marked the rise of marketoriented estate agriculture and the emergence of a landless rural proletariat.

    The beginning of the population explosion

    1. The limitations on population growth
      1. The traditional checks on growth were famine, disease, and war.
      2. These checks kept Europe's population growth rate fairly low.
    2. The new pattern of population growth in the eighteenth century
      1. Population growth resulted from fewer deaths, partly owing to the disappearance of the plague.
        1. Stricter quarantine measures helped eliminate the plague.
        2. The elimination of the black rat by the brown rat was a key reason for the disappearance of the disease.
      2. Advances in medicine, such as inoculation against smallpox, did little to reduce the death rate in Europe.
      3. Improvements in sanitation promoted better public health.
      4. An increase in the food supply meant fewer famines and epidemics, especially as transportation improved.
      5. The growing population often led to overpopulation and increased rural poverty.

    The growth of cottage industry

    1. Rural poverty and population growth led to peasants undertaking manufacturing at home.
      1. By the eighteenth century this cottage industry challenged the monopoly of the urban craft industry.
    2. The puttingout system
      1. The puttingout system was based on rural workers producing cloth in their homes for merchantcapitalists, who supplied the raw materials and paid for the finished goods.
      2. This capitalist system reduced the problem of rural unemployment and provided cheap goods.
      3. England led the way in the conversion from urban to rural textile production.
    3. The textile industry in England as an example of the puttingout system
      1. The English textile industry was a family industry: the women would spin and the men would weave.
        1. This took place in their tiny cottage.
        2. Each cottage had a loom--e.g., Kay's new "flying shuttle" loom.
      2. A major problem was that there were not enough spinners to make yarn for the weaver.
      3. Strained relations often existed between workers and capitalist employers.
      4. The capitalist found it difficult to control the worker.

    Building the Atlantic economy in the eighteenth century

    1. Great Britain (formed in 1707) by a union of England and Scotland, took the lead in a great expansion in world trade.
    2. Mercantilism and colonial wars
      1. Mercantilism is a system of economic regulations aimed at increasing the power of the state, particularly by creating a favorable balance of trade.
      2. English mercantilism was further characterized by the use of government regulations to serve the interests of private individuals.
      3. The Navigation Acts were a form of economic warfare.
        1. They required that most goods exported to England be carried on British ships.
        2. These acts gave England a virtual trade monopoly with its colonies.
      4. The French quest for power in Europe and North America led to international wars.
        1. The loss of the War of the Spanish Succession forced France to cede parts of Canada to Britain.
        2. Maria Theresa of Austria sought to crush Prussia--this led to the Seven Years' War.
        3. New France under Montcalm was finally defeated by British forces at Quebec in 1759.
        4. The Seven Years' War (1756-1763) was the decisive struggle in the FrenchBritish competition for colonial empire; France ended up losing its North American possessions.
    3. Land and labor in British America
      1. Colonies helped relieve European poverty and surplus population as settlers eagerly took up farming on the virtually free land.
        1. The availability of land made labor expensive in the colonies.
        2. Cheap land and scarce labor were critical factors in the growth of slavery.
      2. The Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch introduced slavery into the Americas in the sixteenth century.
        1. The Dutch transported thousands of Africans to Brazil and the Caribbean to work on sugar plantations.
        2. British adoption of slavery in North America created a new class of rich plantation owners.
      3. The English mercantilist system benefited American colonists.
        1. They exported food to the West Indies to feed the slaves and sugar and tobacco to Britain.
        2. The American shipping industry grew.
      4. The population of the North American colonies grew very quickly during the eighteenth century, and the standards of living were fairly high.
    4. The growth of foreign trade
      1. Trade with the English colonists compensated for a decline in British trade on the Continent.
      2. The colonies also encouraged industrial growth in Britain.
    5. The Atlantic slave trade
      1. The forced migration of millions of Africans was a key element in European economic expansion.
      2. Before 1700 slaves were largely captives taken in battles between Africans or were Africans who committed crimes.
        1. African slaves were seldom sold in Europe; runaways merged into London's population.
        2. In Britain, slave status was limited by law in 1772; the slave trade was abolished in 1808.
    6. Revival in colonial Latin America
      1. Spain's political revitalization was matched by economic improvement in its colonies.
        1. Philip V brought new leadership; Spain acquired Louisiana in 1763.
        2. Silver mining recovered in Mexico and Peru.
        3. Trade grew, though industry remained weak.
      2. In much of Latin America, Creole landowners dominated the economy and the Indian population by means of debt peonage.
      3. Compared to North America, racial mixing was more frequent in Spanish America.
    7. Adam Smith and economic liberalism
      1. Despite mercantilism's contribution to imperial growth, a reaction to it set in.
      2. The Scottish professor Adam Smith founded modern economics through his general idea of freedom of enterprise in foreign trade.
        1. He claimed that mercantilism stifled economic growth.
        2. He advocated free competition; he believed that pursuit of selfinterest would lead to harmony and progress, for workers as well as employers.


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