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Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and by Barrington Moore

By Barrington Moore

A landmark in comparative historical past and a problem to students of all lands who're attempting to find out how we arrived at the place we're now. -New York occasions ebook Review

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Additional resources for Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World (Univ. Bks.)

Sample text

6s If the menace of revolution and niilitary dictatorship had not ended at the Battle of Waterloo, it is highly unlikely that England would have resumed in the nineteenth century those slow and halting steps toward po­ litical and social reform that she had given up at the end of the eighteenth. Acceptable regimes in Europe, the absence of a threat from that quarter, was one of the prerequisites for peaceful demo­ cratic evolution in England. To understand why the reactionary phase was relatively brief and why the movement toward a freer society commenced anew during the nineteenth century, it is necessary to look beyond the 64 Plumb, England, 132.

If, in order to discover the area affected, one looks at a map of England shaded according to the total areas of counties in which the enclosure of common fields took place, one will notice that rather more than half the country had been subject to such enclosure. Perhaps half of this area in turn, mainly in the Midlands but with a broad tongue extending northwards, experi­ enced the heaviest impact, running from just under a. third to a half and more of these areas. 55 As is usually the case in such social upheavals, the fate of those who lost out by the change is very difficult to discern.

This was an age of improvement in agricul­ tural techniques, such as the increased use of fertilizer, new crops, and crop rotation. New methods could not be applied at all in fields subject to the rules of common cultivation; their expense made them harder for the farmer of small and even middling means. 47 Contemporaries were enthusiastically, perhaps too enthusiasti­ cally, aware of these advantages. Like his counterpart in the towns, and indeed like all modern revolutionaries, the rural capitalist justi­ fied the misery he caused by appealing to the benefits he created for society at the same time that he made immense personal gains.

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