We may say, with reasonable assurance, that the problem of distribution is a modern one. At least its importance, so far as the United States is concerned, is now many times greater than it was a century or even a half century ago. The explanation is not difficult. It is, like a great many other explanations of American developments, intimately associated with the opportunity each man had to settle on practically free land. As long as it was not only possible, but also fairly easy for each one to acquire a farm for himself, he who was dissatisfied with his share in distribution had a fair opportunity to go on the land where he would control all of the shares. Hence, little was heard of the poorly paid laborer, the bloated capitalist, or the rich landlord; for all labored, almost all were capitalists in the sense that they owned their tools, and all had a fair chance to get land. Laborers in those days felt little or no need of organizing to secure a larger share in the distribution of products. They saw very clearly in most cases the straight road that led from the employee to the employer class. Capitalists as such were few. Hence, the share in distribution that went to them was comparatively small. As the amount of free public land became less and less, the importance of distribution became greater and greater. The supply of free land not only declined, but also, what is more important, it receded westward, making itself unavailable to the workers and capitalists of the East. First the worker lost the opportunity to escape to the land, and next, owing to developments in production, he lost control of his tools. Then he began to lean heavily on capital for support; and then capital began to play an increasingly important part in production. Here we find for the first time in the history of the United States sharp lines separating the factors of production, and hence, the shares in distribution.