3. Peasants and Farmers
New Demands For Grain
(i) English population between 1750 and 1900, it multiplied over four times, mounting from 7 million in 1750 to 21 million in 1850 and 30 million in 1900. This meant an increased demand for foodgrains to feed the population. Moreover, Britain at this time was industrialising. More and more people began to live and work in urban areas. Men from rural areas migrated to towns in search of jobs. To survive they had to buy foodgrains in the market. As the urban population grew, the market for foodgrains expanded, and when demand increased rapidly, foodgrain prices rose.
(ii) By the end of the eighteenth century, France was at war with England. This disrupted trade and the import of foodgrains from Europe. Prices of foodgrains in England sky rocketed, encouraging landowners to enclose lands and enlarge the area under grain cultivation.