Catalogue


Land reform and working-class experience in Britain and the United States, 1800-1862 /
Jamie L. Bronstein.
imprint
Stanford, CA : Stanford University Press, c1999.
description
viii, 372 p.
ISBN
0804734518 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Stanford, CA : Stanford University Press, c1999.
isbn
0804734518 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
2573256
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [333]-365) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
By exploring in detail land reform movements in Britain and the United States, this book transcends traditional labor history and conceptions of class to deepen our understanding of the social, political, and economic history of both countries in the nineteenth century. Although divided by their diverse experiences of industrialization, and living in countries with different amounts of available land, many working people in both Britain and the United States dreamed of free or inexpensive land to release them from the grim conditions of the 1840's: depressing, overcrowded cities, low wages or unemployment, and stifling lives. Focusing on the Chartist Land Company, the Potters' Joint-Stock Emigration Society, and the American National Reform movement, this study analyses the ideas that motivated workers to turn to land reform, the creation of working-class land reform cultures and identities among both men and women, and the international communication that enabled the formation of a transatlantic movement. Though there were similarities in the ideas behind the land reform movements, in their organizational strategies, and in their relationships with other reform movements in the two countries, the author's examination of their grassroots constituencies reveals key differences. In the United States, land reformers included small proprietors as well as artisans and factory workers. In Britain, by contrast, at least a quarter of Chartist Land Company participants lived in cotton-manufacturing towns, strongholds of unpropertied workers and radical activity. When the land reform movements came into contact with the organs of the press and government, the differences in membership became crucial. The Chartist Land Company was repressed by a government alarmed at the prospect of workers' autonomy, and the Potters' Joint-Stock Emigration Society died the natural death of straitened finances, but the American land reform movement experienced some measure of success--so much so that during the revolution in American political parties during the 1850's, land reform, once a radical issue, became a mainstream plank in the Republican platform
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1999-09:
Bronstein (New Mexico State Univ.) has written a truly impressive study of land reform. Concentrating on Britain's Chartist Land Company and Potters' Joint-Stock Emigration Society, and on the American National Reform movement, the author details the similarities and the differences of reform efforts in the two nations. The movements shared a common core of ideological thought and used Christian symbols, patriotism, and freethinking to promote their schemes for free or inexpensive land. Reformers found themselves in competition with other national movements, the Anti-Corn Law League in Britain, and the Abolitionists in the US. The chapter on who the land reformers were is the most interesting in the book and points out a significant difference: in the US reformers were generally drawn from respectable jobs and solid family backgrounds, while in Britain adherents were often impoverished and disillusioned cotton mill laborers. In Britain, both companies were successful because they were actively opposed by the government and the press; in the US the issue of land reform was a widely accepted goal and was ultimately adopted by the Republican Party. British and American sources used are remarkably complete; footnotes and bibliography are a treasury of information. Upper-division undergraduates and above. L. J. Satre; Youngstown State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"This is a very welcome exercise in international comparative history, and Bronstein deserves admiration for eschewing the insularity that characterizes so much historical work."-- SOCIAL HISTORY
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 1999
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
By exploring in detail land reform movements in Britain and the United States, this book transcends traditional labor history and conceptions of class to deepen our understanding of the social, political, and economic history of both countries in the 19th century.
Back Cover Copy
"This is a very welcome exercise in international comparative history, and Bronstein deserves admiration for eschewing the insularity that characterizes so much historical work."--SOCIAL HISTORY
Bowker Data Service Summary
Many of the working classes in Britain and the United States dreamed of buying cheap land to free them of the grim conditions of the 1840s. This text focuses on the Chartist Land Company and other such organisations that were involved in land reforms.
Back Cover Copy
"This is a very welcome exercise in international comparative history, and Bronstein deserves admiration for eschewing the insularity that characterizes so much historical work."SOCIAL HISTORY
Table of Contents
Introduction: Why Were There Working-Class Land-Reform Movements in Britain and America?p. 1
Three Movements, One Goalp. 9
The Intellectual Heritage of Working-Class Land Reformp. 23
Land-Reform Rhetoric and the Currents of Reformp. 52
The Competition for Reforming Attentions in the 1840'sp. 87
Making Working-Class Activism: Anglo-American Organizational Strategiesp. 112
Under the Banner of Land Reform in Britain and Americap. 160
The Land Plans, Politics, and the Pressp. 207
Epiloguep. 247
Notesp. 253
Bibliographyp. 333
Indexp. 367
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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