Given this context, it is not surprising that populist politics turned to a variety of land schemes in an attempt to restore pre-enclosure communities. In the late 1840s and 1850s, freehold land societies attempted to recreate these communities on a micro-scale. Selling shares to individuals, they then purchased large tracts of land and sold smaller portions to shareholders, who, theoretically, could work their portion within the larger community marked off by the boundaries of the larger tract like members of a rural parish. Promoting land ownership as the road to suffrage, freehold land societies also appealed explicitly to the metaphysical connotations of land, reminding potential investors, “There is an universal instinct in the soul of man to be the absolute possessor of a piece of land” (Parnell 1).
The state government gave the TRC the responsibility to regulate oil and gas production in the state of Texas. The TRC in turn regulated well spacing, depletion rates, forced unitizing of property parcels astride the oil fields, and thus indirectly set the price of oil. And these controls worked, were replicated in other states, and the TRC essentially controlled the price of oil in the United States for the next 50 years. Interestingly, the Texas Railroad Commission was set up to deal with overbuilding and tariff exploitation by railroad companies, yet another tragedy of the commons situation.