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What was the Enclosure Act?

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"The Enclosure Act occured in Great Britain in the 18th century. It caused all the skinny plots of land to be joined together. The land was joined and then people were given their share of land based on the amount of land that they owned before the act. They were also given a small parcel of land to help them but often the land was useless. The land owners had to fence their land in order to live on it - most couldn't afford this so they had to sell and move into urban areas. This gave the 'muscle to start the industrial revolution'."
In other words, the landed aristocracy forced all the poor labourers off of the "village commons" that now became "enclosed" as their own property. (Because, as stated above, they were the ones that actually owned the majority of the land, and the social classes are highly stratified at this time in Great Britain.) New technology and advanced cropping systems replaced many labourers. The jobless poor would end up as constituting the working class in the Industrial Revolution that would follow shortly.
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