The Agricultural Revolution

Thesis: The Industrial Revolution could not have taken place without the Agricultural Revolution and the ability to produce food on a mass scale.

Early Advances in Farming:

This is a drawing of a horse powered thresher. It was tools like this that allowed farmers to produce at vastly greater quantities. This meant the work of a few men could do what it used take hundreds of men to do. It was an incredibly revolutionary way of farming and production of crops increased at an incredible rate. People no longer had to farm food for themselves, because they could rely on other people to produce large amounts.


My second source is an article from Britannica that states, “Agricultural revolution, gradual transformation of the traditional agricultural system that began in Britain in the 18th century. Aspects of this complex transformation, which was not completed until the 19th century included the reallocation of land ownership to make farms more compact and an increased investment in technical improvements, such as new machinery, better drainage, scientific methods of breeding, and experimentation with new crops and systems of crop rotation.” (Agricultural revolution). This is important because it states multiple ways in which agricultural techniques were improved upon. This again supports my argument that fewer people were able to do massive amounts of work. It gave many people more free time to pursue other endeavors and that is exactly what ended up happening. People were also free to move into urban settings that were not suitable to grow its own food.

This timeline shows just how quickly agricultural techniques were improving in just the span of 100 years. As you can see, the population growth of the United States had increased 5 times in the same time period. This would leave me to believe that better farming techniques could support a much larger population, with less people doing the actual farm work.

Impact on workforce:

If you take a look at this graph, you’ll notice a couple of things. The two most important colors to pay attention to are green (percent of people working on farms) and blue (percentage of people working in manufacturing). Beginning from 1800, people are drastically leaving farms and at the same time they are drastically moving into manufacturing jobs. We know from other data that global population growth was rising dramatically, so how is it possible that fewer people were working on farms?

Effect on Urbanization:

This is another one of my primary sources and it’s probably my favorite. If you take a look at this picture, you notice there are smoke stacks as far as the eye can see. These are all factories that employ hundreds if not thousands of people. What this picture tells me is that some how all of these people need to be fed. It was massive agricultural production that sustained this level of production as factories produced more and more. This requires more and more people and it was food security that allowed this kind of production to take place.

Lastly, an article from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay states, “The Industrial Revolution was made possible due to the many changes and innovations in the agriculture industry. Major Contributors such as Jethro Tull and Lord Townshend found innovative ways to utilize the land and animals alongside new agricultural machines from Inventors, Robert Bakewell and James Hargreaves. Processes like Lord Townshend’s crop rotation and Bakewell’s inbreeding methods allowed for increase in food production; further with all the extra crops, inventions such as the ‘Spinning Jenny’ and the Cotton Gin allowed for the replacement of agricultural workers because machines could do more of the work. With a rising population and a large, cheap available work force the Industrial Revolution was made possible. Fewer men were involved in agriculture, which meant that more would find employment in other industries further driving the Industrial Revolution. Though the many inventions and inventors contributed to further drive the Agricultural Revolution, it is also not limited to these factors alone; many other influences helped drive the agricultural revolution, and ultimately the Industrial Revolution.” This article basically summarizes the point I am trying to make. We often hear so much about the Industrial Revolution and all of the great technology that came from it, but we almost never hear about the Agricultural Revolution and its impact on modern society.

Works Cited


Boundless. “Boundless World History.” Lumen Learning, Lumen, courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-worldhistory/chapter/the-agricultural-revolution/.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Agricultural Revolution.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 4 Dec. 2015, http://www.britannica.com/topic/agricultural-revolution.

Desonie, Dana. “Revolutions in Human Population Growth.” CK-12 Foundation, CK-12 Foundation, 23 Aug. 2018, http://www.ck12.org/earth-science/revolutions-in-human-population-growth/lesson/Revolutions-in-Human-Population-Growth-MS-ES/.

“Rooftops And Smokestacks Of Factories | Industrial Revolution.” PBS LearningMedia, http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/51632462-industrial-revolution/rooftops-and-smokestacks-of-factories-industrial-revolution/.

“Rooftops And Smokestacks Of Factories | Industrial Revolution.” PBS LearningMedia, http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/51632462-industrial-revolution/rooftops-and-smokestacks-of-factories-industrial-revolution/.

“The Future of Hunger: Part 1.” American Society of Animal Science, http://www.asas.org/taking-stock/blog-post/taking-stock/2012/02/01/the-future-of-hunger-part-1.

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