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Migration and Inequality in Germany 1870-1913$
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Oliver Grant

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276561

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276561.001.0001

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Migration, Farm Size, and the Condition of the Agricultural Labourer

Migration, Farm Size, and the Condition of the Agricultural Labourer

(p.181) 6 Migration, Farm Size, and the Condition of the Agricultural Labourer
Migration and Inequality in Germany 1870-1913


Oxford University Press

One theme which ran very strongly through contemporary writings on migration, particularly migration out of eastern agriculture, was that there were institutional problems east of the Elbe which caused the high rates of migration. These were particularly related to the prevalence of large estates, and the contractual labour system practised on these estates. The property-owning peasant farmers typical of other regions were, it was thought, less likely to leave. The landless east-Elbian agricultural workers were drawn to the cities, leaving empty dwellings and uncultivated fields behind them. Or, even more seriously, they were replaced by Polish workers, which threatened the population balance in the disputed eastern provinces which Prussia had gained as a result of the partitions of Poland in the 18th century. This chapter examines the institutional structure of east-Elbian agriculture, and the part it played in migration out of the rural east.

Keywords:   Elbe, eastern agriculture, migration

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