Date of Award

Spring 1982

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 1982 Victoria Behrman. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History Department

First Advisor

Robert S. DuPlessis


The shift of property from communal ownership to individual ownership marks, according to many historians, the transition from Feudalism to Capitalism in Western Europe, most notably England, during the eighteenth century. This thesis argues, through the perusal of historical scholarship and theory on the era as well as primary source manuscripts, that the enclosure movement of the late eighteenth century was the singular transformation that prompted and developed England’s subsequent Capitalist economy and society. Among the factors examined are the relationship between landowners and laborers, the utility of land, the stratification of social classes, and the interaction of these classes with the market.