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Interactive video lesson plan for: 13. A Polarizing Society, 1560-1640

Activity overview:

Early Modern England: Politics, Religion, and Society under the Tudors and Stuarts (HIST 251)

Professor Wrightson reviews the consequences of the economic and population changes discussed in the last lecture. While economic shifts allowed some members of English society, especially members of the gentry and the land-holding classes, to increase their wealth, they also (coupled with an expanding population and price inflation) resulted in the growth of poverty and vagrancy. Professor Wrightson discusses the relative wealth and economic pressures faced by various segments of the early modern population (providing specific examples) and suggests that, while society was becoming increasingly polarized between the poor and the wealthy, there was also a third group, the 'middling sort,' who were expanding in numbers and influence. Professor Wrightson concludes by touching on the rising levels of poverty in the period and government responses to it (culminating in the passage of the Poor Laws), as well as very real human element in these larger social and economic processes.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Effects of Economic Expansion on the Nobility and Gentry
06:47 - Chapter 2. The Tenantry
16:06 - Chapter 3. Trade
23:02 - Chapter 4. Social Polarization
37:24 - Chapter 5. Further Developments

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

This course was recorded in Fall 2009.

Tagged under: Poor Laws,population,inflation,enclosure,poverty,vagrancy,economic rationality,yeomanry,middle sort,economic individualism

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