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Enclosure Acts

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 3 months ago

Week 23 Emergence of Industrial Society IDs


Enclosure Acts


  • The enclosure acts were a series of agricultural laws passed by wealthy landowners within Parliament during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
  • They privatized and fenced off large amounts of farmland that had once been common property (spreading idea of “personal wealth” over the “common good”)
  • 21% of England was enclosed through over 5000 Acts dealing with almost 7 million acres of land
  • Small farmers had to pay rent to large landowners or forfeit their farms
  • Led to great numbers of farmers moving into the cities, and they provided the labor for the industrialization process that just beginning (Industrial Revolution)
  • Some think that the Enclosure Acts resulted in technological improvements including the reduction of the spread of disease and selective breeding
  • The Enclosure movement drove up the price of land and led to many riots and revolts including the Midland Revolt and Newton Rebellion where groups got together to protest the enclosure of certain land


This is an example of an "enclosure hedge" that was established under the Enclosure Acts to show where one persons property started and anothers began. Today it is illegal to remove these hedges with a proper planning process which has to approved.

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