Throughout the era 1780-1888, the changing modes of production and political imperatives of different states, shaped not only the extent of powers conferred on the landed elite, but also molded how landed elite responded to the changes. …
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In European agrarian societies, after the medieval period, land was attributed as a highly demanded asset because it enabled the feudal lords to produce crops for subsistence. However, that was not the only purpose land served. Land was largely seen as a status symbol, a highly valued possession, whose worth could be gauged and flaunted .It was regarded as a safe asset, where wealth could be sustained for a long period, without the fear of deception or fraud. In addition to economic power, land enabled the landowners to amass political powers as well.
This was so, as the owner of an estate also served as the head of the community and solved domestic disputes. Moreover, it allowed the landlords to control the inhabitants that lived on his estate, the majority of which derived subsistence through working on his lands. A landlord had a wide access to people who held positions of authority, which buttressed his influence and prestige in his region . Hence, land enabled him to uphold an administrative role in his area, in addition to it,accruing economic and political power.
In England, while some men acquired land in order to establish their names, from a feudal family or become part of the landed elite, the others acquired it as an investment or amenity. Due to laws and policies, acquiring land became easier. For example, the Act of 1711 passed in Ireland, which forced MPs to hold land, which was later, revised in 1760 to add more people who were legally able to possess land, greatly incentive people to acquire landiii. The legal obstacles were removed for them and lawyers devised easy and cheap ways to acquire land. Some political entities also bought land in order to ensure their electoral strength.The demand for land also increased as people sought to keep it in order to undertake leisurely endeavors such as shooting and hunting. Some bought land in order to keep it as a buffer before they retirediv. Interest rates came to be greatly associated with the worth of land in the early eighteenth century. Sometimes, when the interest rates were low, especially during and after Louis XIV wars, many people expected that the value of land would adjust to ultimately lower levels and hence, acquired lands. During the mid-Victorian boom 1790-1815, rental rates in England surged, and hence, the attractiveness of land as an asset increased. In addition, it was regarded as a stable investment as its value did not fluctuate as much as government bonds in England, as a result of political shocksv. Marriages also allowed for acquisition of land, as office holders who belonged to prestigious families but did not have lands, often married into landholding families, and hence became part of the landed elite. Many of them either belonged to political establishment, or were rich merchants. Many of them were traders in East India Company, who later themselves married into land owning families, or married their sons and daughters, and became part of the landed elitevi. A number of these merchants, who served in the subcontinent, commonly known as ‘
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