The Chartist Land Plan and the Potters' Joint-Stock Emigration Society were short-lived, killed off by power politics and financial mismanagement. National Reform slogged on for almost twenty years before culminating an anticlimactic partial victory--partial because, while homestead was achieved, the original fears of the National Reformers about America's antidemocratic tendencies were never addressed. Yet nothing can erase this: for one bright moment in the 1840's workers on both sides of the Atlantic saw in land reform a shining future. As they sought to accommodate to, variously, the inception of a market economy and the increasing demands of industrialization, the question of the disposition of natural resources and its relationship to the quality of their lives bulked large. In both Britain and the United States, the quest for free farms was in part a reaction to dissatisfaction with urban over- crowding and the paucity of good housing--yet there were larger philosophical questions being contested.
Although cotton factories already dotted the hills of Lancashire, even there the distribution of land was far from being a settled question. Having little to be enthusiastic about in their daily routines and in the unpredictability of their yearly survival, captivated by Feargus O'Connor, who had been their public voice since the late 1830's, workers envisioned an alternative but still possible mix of industry and agriculture which would raise wages for both city and country workers. In contrast, while removed by relative prosperity from the direct effects of industry, Massachusetts farmers, factory laborers, and skilled workers incorporated land redistribution into a series of demands which, when satisfied, would elevate the status of labor to its proper position in a democracy, by ensuring equal rights. American workers in particular strove to amalgamate the ideal of