NCERT Class 9 Social Science Exemplar Chapter-6 Peasants and Farmers Questions and Answers Part 1

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Question 1: Explain briefly what the open field system meant to rural people in eighteenth- century England.

Look at the system from the point of view of:

  • A rich farmer

  • A labourer

  • A peasant woman

Answer: A rich farmer

The open field system was not beneficial for the rich farmer because he could not have exclusive control of the commons. He could not expand his area under cultivation beyond the strips which were allocated at the beginning of a year.

A labourer

This system was beneficial for a labourer because it provided additional sources of livelihood. The labourer could hunt rabbits and catch fish for getting some nutritious food. The commons provided some source of livelihood during off seasons when farm work was not available.

A peasant woman

For a peasant woman, the commons provided ample space for collecting firewood, fruits and berries.

Question 2: Explain briefly the factors which led to the enclosures in England.

Answer: The increased price of wool tempted the rich farmers to usurp the commons. They wanted to improve their sheep breeds to earn more profits. They began making enclosures on the commons land. After the late eighteenth century, the population of England increased significantly. This was also the time of industrialization. Many people migrated to towns in search of new opportunities. All of this increased the demand for food-grains. These developments hastened the enclosure movement in England.

Question 3: Why were threshing machines opposed by the poor in England?

Answer: Threshing machines reduced the need for manual labour. After the end of Napoleonic Wars, many soldiers who came back to villages could not find jobs because of threshing machines. For them, the threshing machine was a symbol of joblessness and hence they opposed the threshing machines.

Question 4: Who was Captain Swing? What did the name symbolise or represent?

Answer: Captain Swing was a mythical person. During the riots to destroy threshing machines and farmhouses, the letters left by the rioters carried the signature of Captain Swing. The name symbolized the protest of poor against the rich farmers and against the new technology.

Question 5: What was the impact of the westward expansion of settlers in the USA?

Answer: After the late eighteenth century, white Americans began to move westward. The displaced local tribes and changed the entire landscape into agricultural belts. Finally, they established control up to the west coast. By the early twentieth century, the landscape of the USA had transformed radically. The USA began to dominate the world market in agricultural produce.