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Chartism Test Questions: 14

Where are we to find employment for the machinery-displaced labourer, but upon the land! The loud cry of distress that rings through our manufacturing towns arises mainly from the fact, that in the processes of manufacture, male adult labour has been almost entirely superseded, either by the cheaper labour of adult females, infantile 'hands', or in-animate machinery. Of WORK there is enough! The mills and other manufacturing establishments turn out plenty of manufactured goods! But those goods are mostly machine-made. Adult labour is not now in request in their production. Vast numbers of able-bodied labourers are without employment, even when our manufactories are running extra hours; and these in their endeavour to procure the means of existence at all, necessarily pull down the wages of those of their brethren who are fortunate enough to procure employment, by offering their services at a less and still less rate of remuneration. And this process is constantly going on! More machinery is constantly being set up; and machines still further simplifying the manufacturing processes, and still further dispensing with animate attendance, are daily being introduced. . . Adult labour is being driven out of the manufacturing labour-market. For a while the superseded ones live on the earnings of their wives or their 'little ones'; then the parish is appealed to; the man becomes broken-spirited and pauperized; squalid misery, abject wretchedness, and utter destitution is the consequence! and enough of this meets the eye at every turn....

The position we should wish man to occupy on THE LAND, is one of independence! To be there his own master! To have sufficient of surface in his occupation to occupy his labour hours, and to return him an adequate LIVING. To so occupy, that every improvement he made should be mainly his own, so that he might have every inducement to make improvements. In fine, we wish, in having the people allocated on THE LAND, to form a natural market for labour, which, in its operation, shall so affect the artificial market, as to cause the producer in the latter to have sufficient wherewith to feed, clothe, shelter, and well-educate himself...

'The Land! The only means of salvation for the starving workers', editorial by Feargus O' Connor in the Northern Star. 14 January, 1843.


  1. What reasons does the Northern Star give for the increase in unemployment among adult males?
  2. What were the results of this unemployment, according to the source?
  3. What does the source suggest were the advantages of a ret urn to the land?
  4. What problems did O'Connor face when trying to set up his Land Plan?
  5. Why did the Land Plan fail?
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