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England March 20th.docx

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McMaster University
Jack Leach

Zahra Haidari --- England 20/03/13 Why was England the country where the Industrial Revolution started? Why not any other country? The England and the Netherlands looked very different from the rest of Europe and the world. England and the Netherlands have much in common at this time – England is in some ways an extreme version of the Netherlands – There are important characteristics that England does not share with the Netherlands ● Both societies were highly literate --- It was difficult to measure literacy, but both societies were extremely difficult. – Statistics difficult to obtain – In England in 1500, 6% of the population could sign their names. In 1800, 53% could do so. Literacy was measured in if people could sign their names (poor measure), but only one available. The literacy rate grew SUBSTANTIALLY. This degree of literacy was historically unprecedented ● There are indications that arithmetic and geometry were known by an unusually large fraction of the population – Arithmetic required for accounting, and geometry for navigation An unusually large part of the population was comfortable with the knowledge of arithmetic and geometry (trigonometry). You needed the knowledge of geometry to be able to navigate in the oceans. Most people were taught geometry quite early in school. ● England and the Netherlands show unprecedented work intensity – Capacity: unusually well nourished – Desire: the consumer revolution – The change in work intensity was significant enough to be noticed by the people of the time The amount of work that an individual did was not that much. The man would produce food and the women would produce clothes. Once those needs were met, there was not much to do. They didn’t need anything else and they just ‘relaxed’ once those two needs were met. Later on, people wanted beautiful plates and other commodities, that were less durable but more beautiful. The people in England and the Netherlands were well nourished, therefore, they could work longer hours and be more productive in comparison to other countries. ● John Steuart (1767): “Let any man make an entering into the first shop. He will nowhere so quickly discover his wants as there. Every thing he sees appears either necessary, or at least highly convenient; and he begins to he could have been so long without that which the ingenuity of the workman alone had invented.” Before this time, people would not wander into shops. There wouldn’t even be that many shops to begin with. If they would go into one, they wouldn’t buy anything because they would be able to make it themselves. “*In earlier times+ men were...forced to work because they were slaves of others; men are now forced to labour because they are slaves to their own wants.” The Dutch were wealthy and they recognized that their living standards were higher than other nations and their ancestors. The Dutch really new that they were rich and that they could afford luxury, therefore, they would show off their luxury in their paintings and art (drapes, nice clothes, carpets, luxurious glass, luxurious fabrics, pottery, musical instruments, the paintings on the wall) Things like coffee and chocolate were absolute luxury. 1700 hundred onwards, everyone in Europe become richer. Everyone achieved a higher standard of living regardless of where they were in Europe in 1700 hundreds. Marriage ● Hajnal: early 20th century data shows two marriage patterns in the world – Draw a line from St. Petersburg to Trieste – East and south of the line almost all women marry, many in their teens – the married very early in life. These women were married VERY early; married at age 10- 12 for women, has their first kid around that age and had LOTS of children. These women were getting married when they were technically kids. They were then responsible for their own children and always remained in poverty. Girls at the age of 10+ were married off quickly by their families so that they could continue the pattern of having children. The above were two different marriage patterns. ● High fertility, low standards of living – North and west of the line, almost one-fifth of women do not marry, and those who did generally waited until their twenties ● Low fertility, high standards of living ● The latter marriage pattern is most pronounced in north-western part of Europe. Why? These women that were marrying later on, had higher standards of living because they would be working instead of marrying at the age of 10-12 and having about a dozen of children. – Religious doctrines that emphasize personal choice in marriage, as opposed to family responsibilities – The Black Death created a severe labour shortage led to high wages. Young women could live away from their homes and have greater control over their lives Human labour became very valuable. Labour by women was also valuable. They were paid high wage rates as well. They then moved away from their home and so that they were not forced to get marry. They (women) would leave home if they had jobs (and wealth), to become more independent. They would get jobs, move out and purchased what they wished if they had the money of course. They weren’t forced
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