Agriculture, Demographics, and Labor during the Industrial Revolution

by rcrist ~ April 22nd, 2010. Filed under: Chapter 18: Industry, Society, and Environment.

In the late 1700s, most people in Europe were still farmers. Although, the cultivation of the lands had not much changed from the Middle Ages. All of these farmers had the same routine. They planted the same crops every year, with the same soil, and grew it the same also. In the 18th century, an increase in population encouraged the farmers to step out of the traditional boundaries. The  largest breakthrough, when it came to “stepping out of traditional boundaries”, was alternating wheat and barley to crops like turnips, clover, and alfalfa. Not very exciting. Furthur in time, technology and science contributed also by using better harrows and iron plows, which enabled farmers to dig deeper and break up clods of soil faster. 

In the 19th century, the age of statistical data was brought on. This was when governments in Western Europe started relying on numbers for certain information, such as birth and death records. Although the increase in agricultural development was a main subject in the Industrial Revolutionn, demographics had started to expand rapidly after 1815. It also jumpstarted the beginning of improved transportation systems, which included sophisticated canal networks, that in turn helped migrate food shortages throughout the areas that were in need.

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