The Village Labourer 1760-1832: A Study in the Government of England before the Reform Bill

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The Village Labourer 1760-1832: A Study in the Government of England before the Reform Bill 

by J.L. and Barbara Hammond

Originally published 1911 New Edition, 1920.

In 1911, The Hammonds  were among the first historians to offer an alternative view to the establishment history of the effects of enclosure. They believed the loss of rural culture, social unrest and the accompanying revolt of the English rural labouring classes happened as a direct result of enclosure. Screen Shot 2013-11-03 at 08.35.10The Hammonds were accused of exaggerating the hardships of the poor.  They countered such accusations by pointing out  ‘that the view they took was the view of most of the best qualified observers of the time, Arthur Young, Eden, Sinclair and Cobbett’ (Hammond 1948:6).   Their account has, as David  Crouch and Colin Ward authors of The allotment: its landscape and culture said, been the subject of revision and counter revisions and counter counter revisions, and ‘economic historians will go on arguing about the causes and effects of enclosure’ (Crouch 1997, 44). The full text of this classic book can be read online or downloaded.

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