When Engels, in 1894, identified ‘Prussia east of the Elbe’ as one of only two instances in western Europe of peasants being totally displaced by capitalist agriculture, he was referring, in Prussia, to what was by then, of course, not an independent nation state but a crucial part of Germany. It was a Germany that had been united only since 1871. More precisely, the territory referred to by Engels is that of ‘Germany east…of the River Elbe and its tributary the Saale, which together formed a line bisecting Germany from Hamburg to the modern Czechoslovakian frontier’ [Perkins, 1986: 287]. It is this territory — ‘Germany east of the Elbe and north of the Erzgebirge and Riesengebirge’1 [Engels, 1965: 155] — and the historical trajectory of its agrarian political economy that is our concern here.
Weitere Kapitel dieses Buchs durch Wischen aufrufen
- From ‘One of Europe’s Freest Peasantries’ to Feudalism and the Eve of Abolition of Serfdom
Terence J. Byres
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
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