Capital and innovation: how Britain became the first industrial nation : a study of the Warrington, Knutsford, Northwich and Frodsham area 1500-1780
How did the Industrial Revolution start? What led to the emergence in north America of the world's first non-aristocratic, egalitarian, nation state.This detailed study of a small area of the Mersey basin in north Cheshire makes a vital contribution to one of the greatest historical debates. The implications of charles Foster's ground-breaking book lift it far above the level of local history, though it is a masterly example of that too. Foster argues that, in the sixteenth century, there was a major redistribution of wealth away from the Church, the Crown and the major gentry. As a result a business society emerged in the North-West of England in the seventeenth century. Changes in property law, the great inflation in land values and the pastoral agriculture in that area meant that a large number of families of the middling sort were able to pass on a bit of capital to each of their children. Many of these children then moved into trade and manufacture, or paid their passage across the Atlantic to set up in business in the northern colonies of America.
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Changes in the distribution of wealth in the sixteenth century
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