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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the system of large-scale capitalist-type land tenure characteristic of the agrarian system of Great Britain.

The foundation of landlordism is the monopoly in land of the aristocratic segment of the ruling class, the landlords, who rent parcels of land to farmer-entrepreneurs and receive capitalist ground rent. Landlordism evolved in England in the 14th and 15th centuries as a result of the decay of the feudal-patrimonial (manorial) system of land tenure. The “new gentry,” who farmed by capitalist methods, took shape. The bases of landlordism were strengthened by the Civil War (in Russian, the Bourgeois Revolution) in the 17th century. The expulsion of the peasants from the land was completed in the 18th century as a result of enclosure. The landlords concentrated huge areas of land in their hands. Capitalist forms of land renting were practiced extensively, including the leasing of parcels for the construction of mines and buildings. Landlordism was connected to the leading position of the landed aristocracy in the political life of the country. During this period, the Tory Party represented its interests.

In the 19th century, the growth of the industrial bourgeoisie brought some weakening in the position of the landlords. The Corn Laws, which were advantageous to the landlords, were abolished in 1846, and the privileges of the landed aristocracy were restricted by the reforms of 1832 and 1867. Legislation passed in 1927 and 1954 regulating the relations between landlords and renters is based on the recognition of the stability of the property rights of landlords.

The maintenance of landlordism is a paramount cause of the nonproductive utilization of land. Despite the increase in farmers’ property, the landlords retain a considerable portion of the land themselves (in Scotland, about four-fifths of all land belonged to landlords in the late 1960’s). Continuing to extract sizable profits from their monopoly in landed property, many landlords are simultaneously shareholders of industrial companies and banks. Landlords play a large role in the Conservative Party.


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Marx, K. Kapital, vol. 1, ch. 24; vol. 3, chs. 37–47. Ibid., vol. 23; vol. 25, part 2.
Engels, F. “Vvedenie k angliiskomu izdaniiu ‘Razvitiia sotsializma ot utopii k nauke.’” Ibid., vol. 22.
Semenov, V. F. Ogorazhivaniia i krest’ianskie dvizheniia v Anglii v XVI v. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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