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Lecture 3: Demographies of 18th Century Britain

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HIST 383
Brian Cowan

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Lecture 3 Demographies of 18th Century BritainProfessor Brian CowanDate Sept 9 2011Thomas Robert Maltus 17661834An Essay on the Principle of Population 1798 look at the big picture demography population social structure what it was like to live in late 17th and 18th century Britain what could people expect out of their lives some have a bitter view of time some romanticize past romantic strong morals tighter families low crimeboth are wrong good way to view past study fairy tales Mother Goose or collections of folk tales good window into what people were concerned about why is this stuff getting written down and preserved as both an elite culture and popular culture perhaps the elites felt the world was slipping away from them so they wrote it down so that future generations would understand their lives tell facts of life that every child should know according to their collective wisdom Solomon Grundy he dies on Saturday and buried on Sunday brutal facts of life that were all gonna die Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe lots of kids poor whipped the kids brutality and fantasized discipline couldnt feed them because she had no money all she could do was discipline them Peas Porridge Hotnine days old peas this is all weve got and this is our routine When I Was a Little Girl no petticoat to keep warm Tommy Tucker forced to sing for supper work is a prevalent theme work was for the lucky ones others have to live in poverty Christmas is Coming request from beggar fear of vagabonds and sturdy beggars idea that alternative kingdom of beggars armies kings threaten the social order Hark Hark The Dogs do Bark army of beggar is coming with a velvetgowned king retirement from work is not something to look forward to growing old sucks There Was an Old Woman she grows old and has nothing then also find these themes in works of elites Robert Malthus inventor of modern demography suggested that population of country would increase faster than its food supply Malthusian Law of Nature resources are finite and can only increase slowly by increments population can increase geometrically and double and double natural propencity for populations to grow beyond natural resource over time you will see big gaps between resources and people
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