Peasant

A peasant is a pre-industrial agricultural laborer or farmer, especially one living in the Middle Ages under feudalism and paying rent, tax, fees, or services to a landlord.[1][2] In Europe, peasants were divided into three classes according to their personal status: slave, serf, and free tenant. Peasants either hold title to land in fee simple, or hold land by any of several forms of land tenure, among them socage, quit-rent, leasehold, and copyhold.[3]

The word peasantry is commonly used in a non-pejorative sense as a collective noun for the rural population in the poor and under-developed countries of the world.

Prokudin-Gorskii-08
Young women offer berries to visitors to their izba home, 1909. Those who had been serfs among the Russian peasantry were officially emancipated in 1861. Photograph by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky.

Etymology

1794 Morgenstern Bauernhof anagoria
A farm in 1794

The word "peasant" is derived from the 15th century French word païsant (compare Italian paesano), meaning one from the pays, or countryside; ultimately from the Latin pagus, or outlying administrative district.[4]

Social position

Peasants typically made up the majority of the agricultural labour force in a pre-industrial society. The majority of the people in the Middle Ages were peasants.

Though "peasant" is a word of loose application, once a market economy had taken root, the term peasant proprietors was frequently used to describe the traditional rural population in countries where smallholders farmed much of the land. More generally, the word "peasant" is sometimes used to refer pejoratively to those considered to be "lower class", perhaps defined by poorer education and/or a lower income.

Medieval European peasants

The open field system of agriculture dominated most of northern Europe during medieval times and endured until the nineteenth century in many areas. Under this system, peasants lived on a manor presided over by a lord or a bishop of the church. Peasants paid rent or labor services to the lord in exchange for their right to cultivate the land. Fallowed land, pastures, forests, and wasteland were held in common. The open field system required cooperation among the peasants of the manor.[5] It was gradually replaced by individual ownership and management of land.

The relative position of peasants in Western Europe improved greatly after the Black Death had reduced the population of medieval Europe in the mid-14th century: resulting in more land for the survivors and making labor more scarce. In the wake of this disruption to the established order, later centuries saw the invention of the printing press, the development of widespread literacy and the enormous social and intellectual changes of the Enlightenment.

The evolution of ideas in an environment of relatively widespread literacy laid the groundwork for the Industrial Revolution, which enabled mechanically and chemically augmented agricultural production while simultaneously increasing the demand for factory workers in cities, who became what Karl Marx called the proletariat. The trend toward individual ownership of land, typified in England by Enclosure, displaced many peasants from the land and compelled them, often unwillingly, to become urban factory-workers, who came to occupy the socio-economic stratum formerly the preserve of the medieval peasants.

This process happened in an especially pronounced and truncated way in Eastern Europe. Lacking any catalysts for change in the 14th century, Eastern European peasants largely continued upon the original medieval path until the 18th and 19th centuries. Serfdom was abolished in Russia in 1861, and while many peasants would remain in areas where their family had farmed for generations, the changes did allow for the buying and selling of lands traditionally held by peasants, and for landless ex-peasants to move to the cities.[6] Even before emancipation in 1861, serfdom was on the wane in Russia. The proportion of serfs within the empire had gradually decreased "from 45-50 percent at the end of the eighteenth century, to 37.7 percent in 1858."[7]

Early modern Germany

Unbekannter Meister 18-19 Jh Feiernde Bauern
"Feiernde Bauern" ("Celebrating Peasants"), artist unknown, 18th or 19th century

In Germany, peasants continued to center their lives in the village well into the 19th century. They belonged to a corporate body and helped to manage the community resources and to monitor community life.[8] In the East they had the status of serfs bound permanently to parcels of land. A peasant is called a "Bauer" in German and "Bur" in Low German (pronounced in English like boor).[9]

In most of Germany, farming was handled by tenant farmers who paid rents and obligatory services to the landlord—typically a nobleman.[10] Peasant leaders supervised the fields and ditches and grazing rights, maintained public order and morals, and supported a village court which handled minor offenses. Inside the family the patriarch made all the decisions, and tried to arrange advantageous marriages for his children. Much of the villages' communal life centered on church services and holy days. In Prussia, the peasants drew lots to choose conscripts required by the army. The noblemen handled external relationships and politics for the villages under their control, and were not typically involved in daily activities or decisions.[11]

France

Information about the complexities of the French Revolution, especially the fast-changing scene in Paris, reached isolated areas through both official announcements and long-established oral networks. Peasants responded differently to different sources of information. The limits on political knowledge in these areas depended more on how much peasants chose to know than on bad roads or illiteracy. Historian Jill Maciak concludes that peasants "were neither subservient, reactionary, nor ignorant."[12]

In his seminal book Peasants into Frenchmen: the Modernization of Rural France, 1880–1914 (1976), historian Eugen Weber traced the modernization of French villages and argued that rural France went from backward and isolated to modern and possessing a sense of French nationhood during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[13] He emphasized the roles of railroads, republican schools, and universal military conscription. He based his findings on school records, migration patterns, military-service documents and economic trends. Weber argued that until 1900 or so a sense of French nationhood was weak in the provinces. Weber then looked at how the policies of the Third Republic created a sense of French nationality in rural areas.[14] The book was widely praised, but some[15] argued that a sense of Frenchness existed in the provinces before 1870.

Use of the term for Chinese farmers

Farmers in China have been sometimes referred to as "peasants" in English-language sources. However, the traditional term for farmer, nongfu (农夫), simply refers to "farmer" or "agricultural worker". In the 19th century, Japanese intellectuals reinvented the Chinese terms fengjian (封建) for "feudalism" and nongmin (农民), or "farming people," terms used in the description of feudal Japanese society.[16] These terms created a negative image of Chinese farmers by making a class distinction where one had not previously existed.[16] Anthropologist Myron Cohen considers these terms to be neologisms that represented a cultural and political invention. He writes:[17]

This divide represented a radical departure from tradition: F.W. Mote and others have shown how especially during the later imperial era (Ming and Qing dynasties), China was notable for the cultural, social, political, and economic interpenetration of city and countryside. But the term nongmin did enter China in association with Marxist and non-Marxist Western perceptions of the "peasant," thereby putting the full weight of the Western heritage to use in a new and sometimes harshly negative representation of China's rural population. Likewise, with this development Westerners found it all the more "natural" to apply their own historically derived images of the peasant to what they observed or were told in China. The idea of the peasant remains powerfully entrenched in the Western perception of China to this very day.

Modern Western writers often continue to use the term peasant for Chinese farmers, typically without ever defining what the term means.[18] This Western use of the term suggests that China is stagnant, "medieval", underdeveloped, and held back by its rural population.[19] Cohen writes that the "imposition of the historically burdened Western contrasts of town and country, shopkeeper and peasant, or merchant and landlord, serves only to distort the realities of the Chinese economic tradition".[20]

Historiography

Peasants 3French Best
Portrait sculpture of 18th-century French peasants by artist George S. Stuart, in the permanent collection of the Museum of Ventura County, Ventura, California

In medieval Europe society was theorized as being organized into three estates: those who work, those who pray, and those who fight.[21] The Annales School of 20th century French historians emphasized the importance of peasants. Its leader Fernand Braudel devoted the first volume—called The Structures of Everyday Life—of his major work, Civilization and Capitalism 15th–18th Century to the largely silent and invisible world that existed below the market economy.

Other research in the field of peasant studies was promoted by Florian Znaniecki and Fei Xiaotong, and in the post-1945 studies of the "great tradition" and the "little tradition" in the work of Robert Redfield. In the 1960s, anthropologists and historians began to rethink the role of peasant revolt in world history and in their own disciplines. Peasant revolution was seen as a Third World response to capitalism and imperialism.[22]

The anthropologist Eric Wolf, for instance, drew on the work of earlier scholars in the Marxist tradition such as Daniel Thorner, who saw the rural population as a key element in the transition from feudalism to capitalism. Wolf and a group of scholars criticized both Marx and the field of modernization theorists for treating peasants as lacking the ability to take action.[23] James C. Scott's field observations in Malaysia convinced him that villagers were active participants in their local politics even though they were forced to use indirect methods. Many of these activist scholars looked back to the peasant movement in India and to the theories of the revolution in China led by Mao Zedong starting in the 1920s. The anthropologist Myron Cohen, however, asked why the rural population in China were called "peasants" rather than "farmers", a distinction he called political rather than scientific.[24] One important outlet for their scholarly work and theory was the Journal of Peasant Studies.

See also

Adriaen van Ostade - Peasants in a Tavern
"Peasants in a Tavern" by Adriaen van Ostade (c. 1635), at the Alte Pinakothek, Munich

Related terms

References

  1. ^ peasant, def. A.1.a. n. OED Online. March 2012. Oxford University Press. 28 May 2012
  2. ^ Merrian-Webster online "peasant"
  3. ^ Webster, Hutton (1 June 2004). Early European History. Kessinger Publishing. p. 440. ISBN 978-1-4191-1711-4. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  4. ^ Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary p. 846, 866.
  5. ^ Gies, Frances and Joseph. Life in a Medieval Village New York: Harper, 1989, pp 12-18
  6. ^ David Moon, The abolition of serfdom in Russia, 1762-1907 (2001) pp. 98–114
  7. ^ Pipes, Richard (1995) [1974]. Russia Under the Old Regime: Second edition. p. 163. ISBN 978-0140247688.
  8. ^ Eda Sagarra, A Social History of Germany: 1648-1914 (1977) pp. 140-54
  9. ^ Wedgwood, Hensleigh (1855). "English Etymologies". Transactions of the Philological Society (8): 117–118.
  10. ^ The monasteries of Bavaria, which controlled 56% of the land, were broken up by the government, and sold off around 1803. Thomas Nipperdey, Germany from Napoleon to Bismarck: 1800-1866 (1996), p. 59
  11. ^ For details on the life of a representative peasant farmer, who migrated in 1710 to Pennsylvania, see Bernd Kratz, he was a farmer, "Hans Stauffer: A Farmer in Germany before his Emigration to Pennsylvania," Genealogist, Fall 2008, Vol. 22 Issue 2, pp. 131-169
  12. ^ Jill Maciak, "Of News and Networks: The Communication of Political Information in the Rural South-West during the French Revolution." French History 15.3 (2001): 273-306.
  13. ^ Joseph A. Amato, "Eugen Weber's France", Journal of Social History, Vol. 25, 1992, pp. 879–882.
  14. ^ Eugen Weber, "The Second Republic, Politics, and the Peasant", French Historical Studies Vol. 11, No. 4 (Autumn, 1980), pp. 521–550 (in JSTOR).
  15. ^ Ted W. Margadant, "French Rural Society in the Nineteenth Century: A Review Essay", Agricultural History, Summer 1979, Vol. 53 No. 3, pp. 644–651.
  16. ^ a b Myron Cohen, Kinship, Contract, Community, and State: Anthropological Perspectives on China. 2005. p. 64
  17. ^ Myron Cohen, Kinship, Contract, Community, and State: Anthropological Perspectives on China. 2005. p. 65
  18. ^ Myron Cohen, Kinship, Contract, Community, and State: Anthropological Perspectives on China. 2005. p. 68
  19. ^ Mei, Yi-tsi. Ideology, Power, Text: Self-Representation and the Peasant 'Other' in Modern Chinese Literature. 1998. p. 26
  20. ^ Myron Cohen, Kinship, Contract, Community, and State: Anthropological Perspectives on China. 2005. p. 73
  21. ^ Richard Southern: The Making of the Middle Ages (1952)
  22. ^ Wolf, Eric R. (1965). Peasants. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. ISBN 978-0136554561.
  23. ^ Eric R. Wolf, Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century (New York,: Harper & Row, 1969).
  24. ^ Myron Cohen, "Cultural and Political Inventions in Modern China: The Case of the Chinese 'Peasant'", Daedalus 122.2 (Spring 1993): 151-170.

Bibliography

  • Bix, Herbert P. Peasant Protest in Japan, 1590-1884 (1986)
  • Cohen, Myron. "Cultural and Political Inventions in Modern China: The Case of the Chinese 'Peasant'", Daedalus 122.2 (Spring 1993): 151-170.
  • Evans, Richard J., and W. R. Lee, eds. The German Peasantry: Conflict and Community from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries (1986)
  • Hobsbawm, E. J. "Peasants and politics," Journal of Peasant Studies, Volume 1, Issue 1 October 1973, pages 3 – 22 - article discusses the definition of "peasant" as used in social sciences
  • Macey, David A. J. Government and Peasant in Russia, 1861-1906; The Pre-History of the Stolypin Reforms (1987).
  • Thomas, William I., and Florian Znaniecki. The Polish Peasant in Europe and America (2 vol. 1918); classic sociological study; complete text online free
  • Wharton, Clifton R. Subsistence agriculture and economic development,. Chicago: Aldine Pub. Co., 1969. Print.o.
  • Wolf, Eric R. Peasants (Prentice-Hall, 1966).
  • Wolf, Eric R. Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century (Harper & Row, 1969).

Recent

  • Akram-Lodhi, A. Haroon, and Cristobal Kay, eds. Peasants and Globalization: Political Economy, Rural Transformation and the Agrarian Question (2009)
  • Barkin, David. "Who Are The Peasants?" Latin American Research Review, 2004, Vol. 39 Issue 3, pp. 270–281
  • Brass, Tom. Peasants, Populism and Postmodernism (2000)
  • Brass, Tom. Class, Culture and the Agrarian Myth (2014)
  • Brass, Tom, ed. New Farmers' Movements in India (1995)
  • Brass, Tom, ed. Latin American Peasants (2003)
  • Scott, James C. The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia (1976)
Bagaudae

In the later Roman Empire, bagaudae (also spelled bacaudae) were groups of peasant insurgents who arose during the Crisis of the Third Century, and persisted until the very end of the western Empire, particularly in the less-Romanised areas of Gallia and Hispania, where they were "exposed to the depredations of the late Roman state, and the great landowners and clerics who were its servants".The invasions, military anarchy and disorders of the third century provided a chaotic and ongoing degradation of the regional power structure within a declining Empire into which the bagaudae achieved some temporary and scattered successes, under the leadership of members of the underclass as well as former members of local ruling elites.

Blouse

A blouse () is a loose-fitting upper garment that was formerly worn by workmen, peasants, artists, women, and children. It is typically gathered at the waist or hips (bytight hem, pleats, pearter or belt) so that it hangs loosely ("blouses") over the wearer's body. Today, the word most commonly refers to a girl's or woman's dress shirt It can also refer to a man's shirt if it is a loose-fitting style (e.g. poet shirts and Cossack shirts), though it rarely is. Traditionally, the term has been used to refer to a shirt which blouses out or has an unmistakably feminine appearance.

The term is also used for some men's military uniform jackets.

Cheondoism

Cheondoism (spelled Chondoism in North Korean sources) (Korean: Cheondogyo; hanja 天道教; hangul 천도교; literally "Religion of the Heavenly Way") is a 20th-century Korean religious ideology, based on the 19th-century Donghak religious movement founded by Ch'oe Che-u and codified under Son Pyŏng-Hi. Cheondoism has its origins in the peasant rebellions which arose starting in 1812 during the Joseon dynasty.

Cheondoism is essentially Confucian in origin, but incorporates elements of Korean shamanism. It places emphasis on personal cultivation, social welfare in the present world, and rejects any notion of an afterlife. Splinter movements include Suwunism and Bocheonism.

Collectivization in the Soviet Union

The Soviet government forced the collectivization (Russian: Коллективизация) of its agricultural sector between 1928 and 1940 (in West - between 1948 and 1952) during the ascendancy of Joseph Stalin. It began during and was part of the first five-year plan. The policy aimed to consolidate individual landholdings and labour into collective farms: mainly kolkhozy and sovkhozy. The Soviet leadership confidently expected that the replacement of individual peasant farms by collective ones would immediately increase the food supply for the urban population, the supply of raw materials for processing industry, and agricultural exports. Planners regarded collectivization as the solution to the crisis of agricultural distribution (mainly in grain deliveries) that had developed from 1927. This problem became more acute as the Soviet Union pressed ahead with its ambitious industrialization program, meaning that more food needed to be produced to keep up with urban demand.

In the early 1930s over 91% of agricultural land became collectivized as rural households entered collective farms with their land, livestock, and other assets. The collectivization era saw several famines, many due to the technological backwardness of the USSR at the time, but critics have also cited deliberate action on the government's part. The death toll cited by experts has ranged from 7 million to 14 million.

Croatian Peasant Party

The Croatian Peasant Party (Croatian: Hrvatska seljačka stranka or HSS) is a centrist political party in Croatia founded on December 22, 1904 by Antun and Stjepan Radić as Croatian Peoples' Peasant Party (HPSS). Brothers Radić considered that the realization of Croatian statehood was possible within Austria-Hungary, but that it had to be reformed into a Monarchy divided into three equal parts – Austria, Hungary, Croatia. After the creation of Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1918, Party requested for the Croatian part of the Kingdom to be based on self-determination. This brought them great public support which columned in 1920 parliamentary election when HPSS won all 58 seats assigned to Croatia.

In 1920, disgruntled with a bad position of Croats in the Kingdom, Party changed its name into Croatian Republican Peasant Party (HRSS) and started advocating secession from the Kingdom and the establishment of "peaceful peasant Republic of Croatia". On 1923 and 1925 election, HRSS doubled the number of won votes, and has thus become the second largest party in the Parliament.

In 1927, faced with a constant prosecution by the regime, HRSS was forced to soften its policy, change its name into Croatian Peasant Party (HSS), recognize the Vidovdan Constitution and form a coalition with Serbian People's Radical Party. This resulted in HSS losing its popularity which was seen in 1927 election when it lost almost third of votes won in the previous elections. After termination of the coalition agreement with the Radicals, HSS formed Peasant-Democratic Coalition with Pribičević's Independent Democratic Party. In 1928, Vladko Maček become the new president of HSS after the assassination of Stjepan Radić.

After King Alexander declared dictatorship in 1929, HSS was banned and its members prosecuted. HSS participated in the 1935 and 1938 election as a part of the United opposition coalition which helped it to regain its influence. In 1939, Cvetković–Maček Agreement helped in the establishing of the HSS-governed Banovina of Croatia. After the establishment of Nazi-puppet state, the so-called Independent State of Croatia (NDH) in 1941, HSS was banned once again, with half of its members joining either Ustaše or Partisans, and part staying loyal to Maček who believed that the victory of Allies would bring liberal democracy into Croatia and that HSS would return to power. In May 1945, Maček left the country, while HSS split into two fractions which boycotted the 1945 election because of their opposition to the Communists. During the period of SFR Yugoslavia (1945–1991), HSS was active abroad.

On May 25, 1991, HSS was restored under the leadership of Drago Stipac at the so-called Assembly of Unification. The party first entered Government after 2000 elections, on which it participated as part of liberal coalition (HSS-IDS-HNS-LS-SDA), with Ivica Račan (SDP) serving as Prime Minister and its president Zlatko Tomčić as Parliament Speaker. After HSS lost 2003 election, it moved to the opposition. In 2007 election, HSS formed yet another liberal coalition (HSLS-PGS-ZDS-ZS) and eventually ended up leading Ministries of Tourism and Agriculture in the Cabinet of Ivo Sanader II, and Ministries of Tourism and Regional Development in the Cabinet of Jadranka Kosor. In 2011 election party won only 1 seat in the Parliament as has moved to the opposition. In 2015 election HSS won 1 seats as part of the conservative Patriotic Coalition, and supported Tihomir Orešković as Prime Minister. In 2016 election, HSS won 5 seats as part of the liberal People's Coalition.

Enclosed Field with Peasant

Enclosed Field with Peasant is an oil painting by Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh, painted in October 1889. It is currently part of the permanent collection at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

German Peasants' War

The German Peasants' War, Great Peasants' War or Great Peasants' Revolt (German: Deutscher Bauernkrieg) was a widespread popular revolt in some German-speaking areas in Central Europe from 1524 to 1525. It failed because of the intense opposition by the aristocracy, who slaughtered up to 100,000 of the 300,000 poorly armed peasants and farmers. The survivors were fined and achieved few, if any, of their goals. The war consisted, like the preceding Bundschuh movement and the Hussite Wars, of a series of both economic and religious revolts in which peasants and farmers, often supported by Anabaptist clergy, took the lead. The German Peasants' War was Europe's largest and most widespread popular uprising prior to the French Revolution of 1789. The fighting was at its height in the middle of 1525.

The war began with separate insurrections, beginning in the southwestern part of what is now Germany and Alsace, and spread in subsequent insurrections to the central and eastern areas of Germany and present-day Austria. After the uprising in Germany was suppressed, it flared briefly in several Swiss Cantons.

In mounting their insurrection, peasants faced insurmountable obstacles. The democratic nature of their movement left them without a command structure and they lacked artillery and cavalry. Most of them had little, if any, military experience. In combat they often turned and fled, and were massacred by their pursuers. The opposition had experienced military leaders, well-equipped and disciplined armies, and ample funding.

The revolt incorporated some principles and rhetoric from the emerging Protestant Reformation, through which the peasants sought influence and freedom. Radical Reformers and Anabaptists, most famously Thomas Müntzer, instigated and supported the revolt. In contrast, Martin Luther and other Magisterial Reformers condemned it and clearly sided with the nobles. In Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants, Luther condemned the violence as the devil's work and called for the nobles to put down the rebels like mad dogs. Historians have interpreted the economic aspects of the German Peasants' War differently, and social and cultural historians continue to disagree on its causes and nature.

Great Fear

The Great Fear (French: la Grande Peur) was a general panic that took place between 17 July and 3 August 1789, at the start of the French Revolution. Rural unrest had been present in France since the worsening grain shortage of the spring, and, fueled by rumors of an aristocrats' "famine plot" to starve or burn out the population, both peasants and townspeople mobilized in many regions.In response to these rumors, fearful peasants armed themselves in self-defense and, in some areas, attacked manor houses. The content of the rumors differed from region to region—in some areas it was believed that a foreign force was burning the crops in the fields, while in other areas it was believed that robbers were burning buildings. Fear of the peasant revolt was a determining factor in the decision to abolish feudalism.

Kulak

The kulaks (; Russian: кула́к, tr. kulak, IPA: [kʊˈlak] (listen), plural кулаки́, "fist", by extension "tight-fisted"; kurkuli in Ukraine, but also used in Russian texts in Ukrainian contexts) were a category of affluent peasants in the later Russian Empire, Soviet Russia and the early Soviet Union. The word kulak originally referred to independent farmers in the Russian Empire who emerged from the peasantry and became wealthy following the Stolypin reform, which began in 1906. The label of kulak was broadened in 1918 to include any peasant who resisted handing over their grain to detachments from Moscow. During 1929–1933, Joseph Stalin's leadership of the total campaign to collectivize the peasantry meant that "peasants with a couple of cows or five or six acres more than their neighbors" were labeled "kulaks".According to the political theory of Marxism–Leninism of the early 20th century, the kulaks were class enemies of the poorer peasants. Vladimir Lenin described them as "bloodsuckers, vampires, plunderers of the people and profiteers, who fatten on famine". Marxism–Leninism had intended a revolution to liberate poor peasants and farm laborers alongside the proletariat (urban and industrial workers). In addition, the command economy of Soviet Bolshevism required the collectivization of farms and land to allow industrialization or conversion to large-scale agricultural production. In practice, government officials violently seized kulak farms and killed resisters while others were deported to labor camps. Another result of dekulakization was the mass migration of these "class enemies" from the countryside to the cities following the loss of their property as it was turned over to the collective as part of the collectivization campaign.

List of peasant revolts

This is a chronological list of conflicts in which peasants played a significant role.

Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union

The Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (Lithuanian: Lietuvos valstiečių ir žaliųjų sąjunga, LVŽS; also known as Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union, formerly Lithuanian Peasant Popular Union, Lithuanian: Lietuvos valstiečių liaudininkų sąjunga, LVLS) is a centre-right agrarian political party in Lithuania led by industrial farmer Ramūnas Karbauskis.

Obshchina

Obshchina (Russian: общи́на, IPA: [ɐpˈɕːinə], literally: "commune") or mir (Russian: мир, literally: "society" (one of the meanings)) or selskoye obshchestvo (Russian: сельское общество, "rural community", official term in the 19th and 20th century; Ukrainian: сільське товариство, translit. sil’s’ké tovarystvo) were peasant village communities, as opposed to individual farmsteads, or khutors, in Imperial Russia. The term derives from the word о́бщий, obshchiy (common).

The vast majority of Russian peasants held their land in communal ownership within a mir community, which acted as a village government and a cooperative. Arable land was divided in sections based on soil quality and distance from the village. Each household had the right to claim one or more strips from each section depending on the number of adults in the household. The purpose of this allocation was not so much social (to each according to his needs) as it was practical (that each person pay his taxes). Strips were periodically re-allocated on the basis of a census, to ensure equitable share of the land. This was enforced by the state, which had an interest in the ability of households to pay their taxes.

Peasant Character Studies (Van Gogh series)

Peasant Character Studies is a series of works that Vincent van Gogh made between 1881 and 1885.

Van Gogh had a particular attachment and sympathy for peasants and other working class people that was fueled in several ways. He was particularly fond of the peasant genre work of Jean-François Millet and others. He found the subjects noble and important in the development of modern art. Van Gogh had seen the changing landscape in the Netherlands as industrialization encroached on once pastoral settings and the livelihoods of the working poor with little opportunity to change vocation.

Van Gogh had a particular interest in creating character studies of working men and women in the Netherlands and Belgium, such as farmers, weavers, and fishermen. Making up a large body of Van Gogh's work during this period, the character studies were an important, foundational component in his artistic development.

Peasant Woman Against a Background of Wheat

Peasant Woman Against a Background of Wheat is an 1890 painting by Vincent van Gogh. Van Gogh went on to paint several versions of this painting.The painting has changed hands several times.

In 1997, Stephen Wynn paid $47.5 million for the painting.On October 7, 2005, it was announced that Stephen Wynn had sold the painting along with Gauguin's Bathers to Steven A. Cohen for more than $100 million.

Peasant foods

Peasant foods are dishes specific to a particular culture, made from accessible and inexpensive ingredients, and usually prepared and seasoned to make them more palatable. They often form a significant part of the diets of people who live in poverty, or have a lower income compared to the average for their society or country.

Peasant foods have been described as being the diet of peasants, that is, tenant or poorer farmers and their farm workers, and by extension, of other cash-poor people. They may use ingredients, such as offal and less-tender cuts of meat, which are not as marketable as a cash crop. Characteristic recipes often consist of hearty one-dish meals, in which chunks of meat and various vegetables are eaten in a savory broth, with bread or other staple food. Sausages are also amenable to varied readily available ingredients, and they themselves tend to contain offal and grains.

Peasant foods often involve skilled preparation by knowledgeable cooks using inventiveness and skills passed down from earlier generations. Such dishes are often prized as ethnic foods by other cultures and by descendants of the native culture who still desire these traditional dishes.

Peasants' Revolt

The Peasants' Revolt, also named Wat Tyler's Rebellion or the Great Rising, was a major uprising across large parts of England in 1381. The revolt had various causes, including the socio-economic and political tensions generated by the Black Death in the 1340s, the high taxes resulting from the conflict with France during the Hundred Years' War, and instability within the local leadership of London. The final trigger for the revolt was the intervention of a royal official, John Bampton, in Essex on 30 May 1381. His attempts to collect unpaid poll taxes in Brentwood ended in a violent confrontation, which rapidly spread across the south-east of the country. A wide spectrum of rural society, including many local artisans and village officials, rose up in protest, burning court records and opening the local gaols. The rebels sought a reduction in taxation, an end to the system of unfree labour known as serfdom, and the removal of the King's senior officials and law courts.

Inspired by the sermons of the radical cleric John Ball and led by Wat Tyler, a contingent of Kentish rebels advanced on London. They were met at Blackheath by representatives of the royal government, who unsuccessfully attempted to persuade them to return home. King Richard II, then aged 14, retreated to the safety of the Tower of London, but most of the royal forces were abroad or in northern England. On 13 June, the rebels entered London and, joined by many local townsfolk, attacked the gaols, destroyed the Savoy Palace, set fire to law books and buildings in the Temple, and killed anyone associated with the royal government. The following day, Richard met the rebels at Mile End and acceded to most of their demands, including the abolition of serfdom. Meanwhile, rebels entered the Tower of London, killing the Lord Chancellor and the Lord High Treasurer, whom they found inside.

On 15 June, Richard left the city to meet Tyler and the rebels at Smithfield. Violence broke out, and Richard's party killed Tyler. Richard defused the tense situation long enough for London's mayor, William Walworth, to gather a militia from the city and disperse the rebel forces. Richard immediately began to re-establish order in London and rescinded his previous grants to the rebels. The revolt had also spread into East Anglia, where the University of Cambridge was attacked and many royal officials were killed. Unrest continued until the intervention of Henry le Despenser, who defeated a rebel army at the Battle of North Walsham on 25 or 26 June. Troubles extended north to York, Beverley and Scarborough, and as far west as Bridgwater in Somerset. Richard mobilised 4,000 soldiers to restore order. Most of the rebel leaders were tracked down and executed; by November, at least 1,500 rebels had been killed.

The Peasants' Revolt has been widely studied by academics. Late 19th-century historians used a range of sources from contemporary chroniclers to assemble an account of the uprising, and these were supplemented in the 20th century by research using court records and local archives. Interpretations of the revolt have shifted over the years. It was once seen as a defining moment in English history, but modern academics are less certain of its impact on subsequent social and economic history. The revolt heavily influenced the course of the Hundred Years' War, by deterring later Parliaments from raising additional taxes to pay for military campaigns in France. The revolt has been widely used in socialist literature, including by the author William Morris, and remains a potent political symbol for the political left, informing the arguments surrounding the introduction of the Community Charge in the United Kingdom during the 1980s.

Polish People's Party

The Polish People's Party (Polish: Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe, abbreviated to PSL (traditionally translated as Polish Peasants' Party), often shortened to ludowcy ('the populars') is an agrarian and Christian democratic political party in Poland. It has 14 members of the Sejm and four Members of the European Parliament. It was the junior partner in a coalition with Civic Platform. It is a member of the European People's Party and the European People's Party group in the European Parliament.

The party was formed in 1990 as a left-wing party. The PSL formed a coalition with the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) after winning 132 seats in the Sejm at the 1993 election, with PSL leader Waldemar Pawlak as Prime Minister until 1995. The party fell to 27 at the next election, and moved towards the centre at the end of the 1990s. In 2001, the party re-entered a coalition with the SLD, but withdrew in 2003. After the 2007 election, the PSL entered a coalition with the centrist liberal Civic Platform (PO).

The party's name traces its tradition to an agrarian party in Austro-Hungarian-controlled Galician Poland, which sent MPs to the parliament in Vienna. Until the 2014 local election, the PSL formed self-government coalition in fifteen to sixteen regional assemblies.

Rebellion

Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders of an established authority. The term comes from the Latin verb rebellō, "I renew war" (from re- ("again") + bellō ("I wage war/I revolt"). The rebel is the individual that partakes in rebellion or rebellious activities, particularly when armed. Thus, the term rebellion also refers to the ensemble of rebels in a state of revolt.

A rebellion originates from a sentiment of indignation and disapproval of a situation and then manifests itself by the refusal to submit or to obey the authority responsible for this situation. Rebellion can be individual or collective, peaceful (civil disobedience, civil resistance, and nonviolent resistance) or violent (terrorism, sabotage and guerrilla warfare.)

In political terms, rebellion and revolt are often distinguished by their different aims. If rebellion generally seeks to evade and/or gain concessions from an oppressive power, a revolt seeks to overthrow and destroy that power, as well as its accompanying laws. The goal of rebellion is resistance while a revolt seeks a revolution. As power shifts relative to the external adversary, or power shifts within a mixed coalition, or positions harden or soften on either side, an insurrection may seesaw between the two forms.

Serfdom in Russia

The term serf, in the sense of an unfree peasant of the Russian Empire, is the usual translation of krepostnoi krestyanin (крепостной крестьянин). The origins of serfdom in Russia are traced to Kievan Rus' in the 11th century. Legal documents of the epoch, such as Russkaya Pravda, distinguished several degrees of feudal dependency of peasants.

Serfdom became the dominant form of relation between peasants and nobility in the 17th century. Serfdom most commonly existed in the central and southern areas of the Russian Empire. Serfdom in the Urals and Siberia was widely unseen until, during the reign of Catherine the Great, businesses began to send serfs into those areas in an attempt to harvest their large amount of untapped natural resources Tsar Alexander I wanted to reform the system but was thwarted in this ambition. New laws allowed all classes (except the serfs) to own land, a privilege that had previously been confined to the nobility. Russian serfdom was finally abolished in the emancipation reform of 1861 by Tsar Alexander II. Scholars have proposed multiple overlapping reasons to account for the abolition, including fear of a large-scale revolt by the serfs, the government's financial needs, evolving cultural sensibilities, and the military's need for soldiers.

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