Rebecca Riots As A Justifiable Expression Of Rural Discontent

1992 words - 8 pages

Rebecca Riots as a Justifiable Expression of Rural Discontent

The Rebecca Riots were a justifiable expression of rural discontent
made by the farmers. This included the smashing of tollgates and
tollhouses across West Wales by angered farmers between 1839 - 1843. I
believe that the riots were a justifiable expression of rural
discontent to a large extent due to the status of the farmers and the
huge difference between rich and poor at the time.

The most important reason that contributed to the Rebecca Riots was
the living conditions and working conditions of the farmers. The
living conditions are described as terrible.

"I entered several farm labourers' cottages…..and found them mud
hovels, the floors of mud and full of holes, without chairs or tables,
generally half filled with peat packed in every corner. Beds were
none. In the most miserable part of St. Giles, in no part of England
did I ever witness such abject poverty." T.C Foster, The Times October
1843. This source can be judged as reliable on the grounds that, it is
a primary source article, written by and educated Englishman unlikely
to be biased towards the Welsh. The Times, who employs T.C Foster is
unlikely to support lies or biased opinions in their articles as they
are a reputable broadsheet newspaper. We also get a comparison to
known poor areas. This implies the extent of the farmers' terrible
living conditions. The farmers' diet was malnutricious, consisting
mainly of potatoes.

"The small farmer here breakfasts on oatmeal and water boiled called
'duffy'….or on a few mashed potatoes. He dines on potatoes and
buttermilk, with sometimes a little white Welsh cheese and barley
bread, and as an occasional treat he has a salt herring…having only on
meal a day" T.C Foster, I showed his reliability earlier. We can see
in this source the amount of poverty the farmers were forced into,
which supports the farmers' decision to riot. This source shows that
the farmer only eats what he can afford to eat. He has to sell most of
the food he grows. The working conditions of the farmers were
primitive and their methods were physically demanding. A letter
written by Rev J Evans states,

"The ploughs of the country are…awkward. The furrow is seldom more
than half turned, by which the growth of weed is encouraged…The land
is thus reduced in the last stage of poverty Marl, so successfully
used by the English farmer, is sparingly adopted by the Welsh. In
cutting wheat they still use the common reaping hook." This source
illustrates the Welsh farmers struggle in farming with only very
simple, backwards methods used. There is a comparison made to the
English farming methods to the Welsh farmers' methods which gives us a
comparison to the extent of technology used by other farmers compared
to the Welsh. This source was...

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