Essay by adanr262046 February 2005

download word file, 4 pages 4.8

Agricultural technology and mass production have a part in the lives of hundreds of millions of people. One only needs to drive through the Midwestern United States to see the vast amounts of land covered in luscious crops. In cities, factories run almost non-stop, inexorably rolling out neat, clean rows of plastic and metal contraptions designed to provide the creature comforts mankind yearns for. Without the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions, few of the luxuries we take for granted would exist. Their effects have reached far and wide across the globe.

The Middle Ages in Europe were marked by plagues, a low population, and the practice of serfdom. However, as the Middle Ages ended and the population began to recover from the plagues that had swept across Europe, an increasing demand for food began to put strain on the economy. Reforms in land management were imminent. The landlords quickly discovered that serfdom was rather inefficient.

This practice required that the serf be the landlord's servant, but in return, the landlord had year-round responsibility of the serf's well being. The landlords freed their serfs, relieving themselves of that responsibility, and began to hire the peasants only during planting and harvest seasons when their labor was required. Over the centuries, this practice left many peasants with no land to cultivate, and not enough food to eat. With no other option, many of these peasants were forced to migrate to cities offering low-paying jobs or immigrate to new lands. These desperate poor people provided the workforce that the Industrial Revolution required.

The Agricultural Revolution did not just involve the redistribution of land and the freeing of the serfs. Improvements in farming technique and the appearance of new technology helped increase efficiency and boost agricultural output. New methods of crop rotation kept the land...