Tudor Dynasty Was Arguably One Essay

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Due to a shortage in labor supply, the demand for the working class increased exponentially. As such, the peasants were no longer at the bottom of the hierarchy in terms of the social and the economic class -- they were suddenly a highly desirable commodity that began charging fees to provide ti. The following quotation corroborates this fact.

Labour had become scarce and expensive and labourers well-off. Thos who survived the plague suddenly found they could pick and choose their masters, name their price for services, build up their landholdings and begin to employ their neighbors (Jones).

Since feudalism (a precursor to capitalism) was the system upon which England's economics and society was based, the government had to change its focus so that it could attempt to restore the exploitive practices in which laborers were readily cheated out of their labor. The English government became much more active in the daily affairs of landowners and peasants as a result of the newfound benefits attributed to the working class, and set to work upon enacting a plethora of legislation and practices that would reduce the wealth and freedom of the workers.

The principle form of legislation that the government enacted to curb the success of laborers in the wake of the Black Death is the Statute of Labourers, a compulsory legal mandate that was effected in 1951. The objective of this legislature was to legally limit the amount of earnings a laborer could charge for performing a specific job. The law had designations for virtually every variety of worker -- a fact which was not well received by the laborers who had survived the Black Death. The result was that their profits were reduced, and the economic and social system which previously exploited the laborer was now rectified somewhat, and prevent the laborers from in turn exploiting the system and the form of government that provided for it.

The chief effect of the Black Plague on the British government was that it substantially decreased its resources. These resources were most eminently in the form of people (and laborers in particular). Due to this decrease, the system of economics which fueled the country was largely hampered. This latter fact is of immense importance, because it helps to elucidate the government's motives in creating the Statute of Labourers and other methods to reduce the wages of laborers attempting to charge exorbitant prices. The government was not motivated by solely by greed and attempts to enforce the repressive social and economic system that it had relied upon for years -- although this consideration certainly factored in to its actions. But this economic system was the only one it had known, so it was simply attempting to preserve the status quo and by extension, the very country itself in the face of one of the most devastating catastrophes to affect mankind. Thus, it supplemented its legislative actions by sending commissions to enforce such legislative, which promptly cited both payers and receivers of wages in violation of this law. It also took to raising excessive taxes in the decades following the end of the Black Plague, so that these two factors -- salary caps and increased taxation -- eventually contributed directly to the Peasant's Revolt of 1381 (Jones).

Overall, the English government was simply trying to survive in the wake of the decimation it received from the Black Death. The government changed to one that strictly regulated the pecuniary processes of its landowners and, more importantly, it workers. The system of feudalism was thus preserved. The specific factors that accounted for this alteration in the behavior of the government were poor financial resources due to a dearth of laborers caused by the Black Death.

Works Cited

Jones, Dan. "The Peasant's Revolt." History Today. 59 (6): 33-39. 2009. Web. Retrieved from http://ehis.ebscohost.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/eds/detail?vid=5&sid=4a1a08bc-7187-48b3-af28-8f30ae05e2ea%40sessionmgr113&hid=8&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&an=41326596

Sage, Henry. "The Protestant Reformation Germany and England." www.academicamerican.com. 2010. Web. http://www.academicamerican.com/colonial/topics/reformation.htm

Spadafora, David. "Black Death." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2008. Web. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/67758/Black-Death

Walker, Greg. "Henry VIII and the Invention of the Royal Court: Challenges the View that Intrigue and Court 'New Men' Took Root Under the Tudor Monarch." History Today. 47: 13-20. 1997. Print.[continue]

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