HIST 251 - Lecture 9 - "Commodity" and "Commonwealth": Economic and Social Problems, 1520-1560

Lecture 9 - "Commodity" and "Commonwealth": Economic and Social Problems, 1520-1560

Overview

Professor Wrightson surveys the changing economic landscape of early modern England in the early sixteenth century. He notes that, throughout the period, population levels rose and, at the same time, inflation caused a rise in prices, and real wages fell. While many landowners were able to raise rents on their lands and profit from enclosing land, and many yeoman farmers prospered, these trends also resulted in a measure of social dislocation and a growth in poverty and vagrancy. Moral outrage at these developments was voiced by the so-called Commonwealth's Men, and popular discontent resulted in large scale rebellions, such as the Pilgrimage of Grace and Kett's Rebellion. Professor Wrightson ends by discussing the economic thought of Sir Thomas Smith, which influenced government initiatives to combat these problems.

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