English Social History Cultural, Economic, Term Paper

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Whether it was demographic malaise or the social imperative for smaller and more careful family formation, the war stunted the population boom. In good fortune, this cessation allowed for the necessary cultivation of the pre-existing fibers of society. The first-time availability of credit, burgeoning trade, and new industries were given the chance to solidify, and migration to the urban centers became a reality in most public lives. The population intensification that described the pre-war economy made the townspeople of Appleby, Chippenham, Willingham, and Orwell, become part of communities no longer separate from the urban life but intrinsically tied to it. As a result, when poverty came to the villages during the wars, migration to the economic strongholds of the urban fortress was a logical alternative.

The peasantry of the villages had little opportunities available to them, and indebted to the research of Laurence Stone, Spufford manages an in-depth discussion of the literacy of English villagers. Without the benefit of the educational institutions that perpetuated the grammar school lesson plans, the villagers had little social capital with which to compete for the jobs now up for grabs by more people. With the transition to the cities where greater opportunity lay and the slowing tide of childbirth that reestablished demographic equilibrium, the middle class opened up to the labor classes in a way never before witnessed in English history.

1700 brought the end of the Civil Wars, and the creation of credit allowed for England to open its doors to new commerce. No longer was it struggling for power with France; instead, between 1550 and 1700, England became a country of economic growth and stability that allowed for national expansion to prevent the French control of the continent, Wrightson argues. As the nation benefited, so did its people; the middle class was firmly established in the labor organization of England, and no longer was its social fabric so segregated into four clear classes led by the top minority.
Instead, the well-to-do workers and capitalists who maximized on the situational advantages of the era became the prominent social force in the actual English hierarchy, returning to the piqued Marxist understanding of the birth of the new social class.

The Great Economic Surge was complete after the Civil Wars, and by 1700 England was solidified as a great power. Because its economy had developed into an extensive, international construct that paid little lip service to the ruling elite, the end of the agrarian economy in England became the cornerstone of new social mobility. Demographic expansion and exploding demand for goods combined with technological innovation and economic intelligence to create an England in which the age-old social structure was no longer relevant, and the masses of peasantry on whose backs England gained power became the same hands that proudly toiled for her preeminence between 1550 and 1700.

Hindle, Steve. "Exclusion Crises: Poverty, Migration, and Parochial Responsibility in English Rural Communities, c. 1550-1660." Rural History 7:2. 1996. P. 125-49.

Hooker, John. Proceedings of a Convention of Delegates in the Counties of Hampshire, Franklin, and Hampden. Northampton: William Butler, 1812.

Skipp, Victor H.T. Crisis and Development: An Ecological Case Study of the Forest of Arden, 1570-1674. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1978. (132 p)

Spufford, Margaret. Contrasting Communities: English Villagers in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974. (374 p)

Viederman, Stephen. Sir Thomas Smith and the Question of Sovereignty in Elizabethan England. [manuscript] 1957.

Wrightson, Keith. Earthly Necessities: Economic Lives in Early Modern Britain. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000. (372 p.)

Spufford, Margaret. Contrasting Communities: English Villagers in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974. P. 31.

Spufford, p. 131.

Spufford, 137.

Skipp, Victor H.T. Crisis and Development: An Ecological Case Study of the Forest of Arden, 1570-1674. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1978. (132 p) p. 93.

Wrightson, Keith. Earthly Necessities: Economic.....

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