the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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on this day in 1845, a fateful step was taken towards enclosure of the commons

credit: Bob Embleton/Wikimedia Commons

On this day in 1845, Westminster, the UK Parliament passed the 1845 enclosure act. Although not the first step in the enclosure of the commons, this act created enclosure commissioners who were given the authority to enclose land without prior parliamentary approval. In total, over the course of 300 years, the British government enclosed nearly 7 million acres of the commons in Britain alone. In doing so they created the ‘working class’ and systematic private property in one fell swoop.  This model became a worldwide blueprint that has led us to the situation in which we find ourselves today. Enclosure of the commons, coupled with imperialism has ensured that hundreds of millions of people are unable to access agricultural land and billions more live in abject poverty, despite living in regions of abundance. Continue reading

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a nice history of 19th century social movements in agriculture

Check it out HERE.

A snippet:

Three movements to build public life
The Grange

  • Initially a movement to improve agriculture. Travelling speakers would speak about the latest scientific agricultural techniques, and the operations of the commercial economy. An offshoot of the Morrill Act which established land grant universities (like the University of Maryland) to advance agriculture.
  • The speakers were the knowledgeable who educated the farmers. The Grange Hall provided a successor to the lyceum and chatauqua where farmers came to hear lectures. They heard about crop rotation, hybridized seed, and other scientific advancements. They also learned the language of commercial activity: markets, supply and demand, borrowing capital, investment strategies, and so on. Thus, science, business, and education (training) were brought to agriculture. Continue reading