Skip to comments.Fleming: What Life Was Like in 1776
Posted on 07/04/2012 5:11:52 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
Almost every American knows the traditional story of July Fourththe soaring idealism of the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress's grim pledge to defy the world's most powerful nation with their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. But what else about revolutionary America might help us feel closer to those founders in their tricornered hats, fancy waistcoats and tight knee-breeches?
Those Americans, it turns out, had the highest per capita income in the civilized world of their time. They also paid the lowest taxesand they were determined to keep it that way.
By 1776, the 13 American colonies had been in existence for over 150 yearsmore than enough time for the talented and ambitious to acquire money and land. At the top of the South's earners were large planters such as George Washington. In the North their incomes were more than matched by merchants such as John Hancock and Robert Morris. Next came lawyers such as John Adams, followed by tavern keepers, who often cleared 1,000 pounds a year, or about $100,000 in modern money. Doctors were paid comparatively little. Ditto for dentists, who were almost nonexistent.
In the northern colonies, according to historical research, the top 10% of the population owned about 45% of the wealth. In some parts of the South, 10% owned 75% of the wealth. But unlike most other countries, America in 1776 had a thriving middle class. Well-to-do farmers shipped tons of corn and wheat and rice to the West Indies and Europe, using the profits to send their children to private schools and buy their wives expensive gowns and carriages. Artisanstailors, carpenters and other skilled workmenalso prospered, as did shop owners who dealt in a variety of goods. Benjamin Franklin credited his shrewd wife, Deborah, with laying the foundation of their wealth with...
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Revolutionary times ping...
He left off an important detail: By 1776 Americans were not only wealthier, but also considerably more educated than British, on average. Almost all white Americans, especially in New England, could read. Americans considered British troops to be coarse, poor and uneducated and resented being ordered about by people they considered their economic and intellectual inferiors.
(It is said that British officers found American speech slightly archaic. After the revolution, Americans made a tongue in cheek offer to teach the Prince of Wales how to speak and read English.)
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Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.
The History Channel is playing the whole series of The Revolution, this morning. Last hour was about Lexington and Concord. Right now, it’s the woes of Washington as he tries to form an Army from the militia.
Very interesting. Thanks for posting!
Some linguists have surmised that English people living in the 17th-18th Centuries sounded more like Americans than English people today (apparently, they learned this by reading contemporary letters, which were written phonetically in the days before standard spelling rules were adopted).
Words like ‘Fall’ (for Autumn) and ‘chore’ had fallen into disuse and were basically preserved and re-imported back into England later...
Only a fraction of Englishmen had the right to vote and despite London's million inhabitants (most of them poor and making less than $4,000 a year - in todays money), London had only 8 seats in Parliament while some much smaller town would have over 100 seats in Parliament. It would be as if Dallas, Texas could send 50 or 60 congressmen to Washington but New York City or Chicago could only send 2 or 3! This was due to some archaic system where Parliament seats could be bought and sold by wealthy landowners.
So for the most part, taxation without representation was rampant even in England itself.
I acknowledge that there were rotten boroughs, but I doubt they would send 100 to Parliament.
Well now that's awfully racist of them! /sarc
Isn't it quite interesting how we live in a time where the Conservatives among us are generally the better educated and wealthy while the Progressives seem Hell-bent on "equality" among all people despite the fact that those poor and uneducated masses have no desire to better their situations.
Essentially, as you so eloquently put in your opinion, we "[resent] being ordered about by people [we consider our] economic and intellectual inferiors."
I don't know about any of you, but Barack Hussein Obama has shown nothing to me to indicate any grooming or pedigree from an institute of higher education, and I would go so far as to say that he's no more intelligent or intellectual than any rag-wearing bum on a Chicago street corner asking for change to wash your windshield.
The Adamses, Washingtons, Monroes, Franklins and Jeffersons among us need to see the "correspondences" from Washington as a bell-weather for the coming tides of darkness and prepare our bulwarks accordingly.
As a trend, the more educated you are, the more conservative you are, up through graduate or professional degree. Obtaining a PhD reverses the trend and makes you more liberal.
Most PhD work for the government or in education and can be viewed as rent-seekers, I suppose. Same is true for income, of course, the more you earn, the more conservative you become, or alternatively, the more conservative you are, the more you are likely to earn.
One delicious irony is that the more you know about science, the less likely you are to accept global warning alarmism.
Perhaps 30% of America know the story of July Fourth, rest of these fools know nothing except hand outs and American idol.
And the same for Darwinism. See tagline.
I am without internet...stiil from the storm (MD). One of you please copy and paste the ping list from my profile and get this out. I read this last night and would have posted it but that is difficult from an Android. Thanks.
I’m happy to! Have a great 4th, although, Android, brrrr, not sure that’s possible. ;’)
Proxy ping, everyone, for Independence Day!!!
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>>And the same for Darwinism. See tagline.<<
What is “Darwinism?”
Thanks for the ping!