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5. Harvesting the Agrarian Revolution

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Chapter Summary

The economic processes set in motion by agrarian capitalism were culminating in an extraordinary economic transformation that was unfolding before and, once it began, alongside the Industrial Revolution. This chapter explores this transformation in order to better understand the nature of the economic context within which the Industrial Revolution started and unfolded. While the population of Britain grew by 57 percent over the course of the eighteenth century, most of that growth came after 1750, when the demographic pause ended and rapid population growth resumed. The most striking feature of British trade was the spectacular growth in colonial trade, rising from ten to 57 percent of England's domestic exports over the course of the eighteenth century. The era of high parliamentary enclosures came more than a century after the civil wars and the redefinition of Parliament as the instrument of state power expressing the unanimity of the ruling landed class.

Keywords:agrarian capitalism; civil war; colonial trade; demographic pause; domestic export; England; Industrial Revolution; parliamentary enclosures



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