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Critics of the so-called ‘Political Marxist’ (PM) school, which has tended to focus on the pre-industrial period, have charged that this school could not explain the industrial revolution. In this extensive study, Žmolek seeks to meet this challenge. Surveying five centuries of English political and economic history, this work engages new and old debates about: the causes of the first industrial revolution, the role of the state in it, enclosures, the origins of capitalism and the struggle of artisans to resist capitalist industrialization and defend custom. Building upon the work of Brenner, Wood, Comninel and other ‘PM’ scholars, this study broadly explores the complexities of the relationship between agrarian capitalism and the advent of industrial capitalism in England and Britain. Žmolek also critiques liberal narratives which seek to downplay the role of the state as a primary agent in this transition by portraying the state as a passive agent. By drawing our attention to the coercive and legislative mechanisms deployed by the state on behalf of landed elites and early industrialists, Žmolek seeks to show the integral role which the state played in shaping outcomes.