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Fleming: What Life Was Like in 1776
WSJ ^ | 7-4-12 | Thomas Fleming

Posted on 07/04/2012 5:11:52 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic

Almost every American knows the traditional story of July Fourth—the 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 taxes—and they were determined to keep it that way.

By 1776, the 13 American colonies had been in existence for over 150 years—more 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. Artisans—tailors, carpenters and other skilled workmen—also 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 ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 1776; colonies; godsgravesglyphs; history; life

1 posted on 07/04/2012 5:11:59 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic; Pharmboy

Revolutionary times ping...


2 posted on 07/04/2012 5:12:59 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

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.)


3 posted on 07/04/2012 5:28:30 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The Democratic Party strongly supports full civil rights for necro-Americans!)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

bookmark


4 posted on 07/04/2012 5:29:00 AM PDT by GiovannaNicoletta (In the last days, mockers will come with their mocking... (2 Peter 3:3))
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks afraidfortherepublic.


5 posted on 07/04/2012 5:35:16 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Pharmboy

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


6 posted on 07/04/2012 5:35:42 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

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.


7 posted on 07/04/2012 5:36:13 AM PDT by rabidralph
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Very interesting. Thanks for posting!


8 posted on 07/04/2012 5:37:04 AM PDT by bigdaddy45
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

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...


9 posted on 07/04/2012 5:43:55 AM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
By contrast, London at that time (1776) was teeming with slums and filth. London was the center of world trade at the time so certainly they had some very wealthy merchants but it was basically a class-based society in which your economic prospects were determined at birth.

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.

10 posted on 07/04/2012 5:50:02 AM PDT by SamAdams76
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To: SamAdams76

I acknowledge that there were rotten boroughs, but I doubt they would send 100 to Parliament.


11 posted on 07/04/2012 6:02:52 AM PDT by DeaconBenjamin (A trillion here, a trillion there, soon you're NOT talking real money)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
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.

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.

12 posted on 07/04/2012 6:15:48 AM PDT by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: rarestia

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.


13 posted on 07/04/2012 6:32:04 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The Democratic Party strongly supports full civil rights for necro-Americans!)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
Almost every American knows the traditional story of July Fourth

They do?

14 posted on 07/04/2012 7:01:00 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: onedoug

Perhaps 30% of America know the story of July Fourth, rest of these fools know nothing except hand outs and American idol.


15 posted on 07/04/2012 7:07:51 AM PDT by tiger63
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets; betty boop; Alamo-Girl; xzins; Yashcheritsiy; GodGunsGuts; tpanther; ...
One delicious irony is that the more you know about science, the less likely you are to accept global warning alarmism.

And the same for Darwinism. See tagline.

FReegards!


16 posted on 07/04/2012 7:10:46 AM PDT by Agamemnon (Darwinism is the glue that holds liberalism together)
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To: afraidfortherepublic; SunkenCiv

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.


17 posted on 07/04/2012 7:15:17 AM PDT by Pharmboy (Democrats lie because they must.)
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To: Pharmboy; indcons; Chani; thefactor; blam; aculeus; ELS; Doctor Raoul; mainepatsfan; timpad; ...

I’m happy to! Have a great 4th, although, Android, brrrr, not sure that’s possible. ;’)

Proxy ping, everyone, for Independence Day!!!

RevWar/Colonial History/General Washington ping list
(FreepMail Pharmboy if you want to be placed on the list)


18 posted on 07/04/2012 7:41:51 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Agamemnon

>>And the same for Darwinism. See tagline.<<

What is “Darwinism?”


19 posted on 07/04/2012 7:59:16 AM PDT by freedumb2003 (Guns Walked -- People Died -- Holder Lied -- Obama Golfed (thanks, Secret Agent Man))
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To: Agamemnon

Thanks for the ping!


20 posted on 07/04/2012 8:09:10 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: DeaconBenjamin
I acknowledge that there were rotten boroughs, but I doubt they would send 100 to Parliament.

I looked this up in Thomas Fleming's Perils Of Peace (America's Struggle for Survival after Yorktown), p. 84-85.

...Only 215 thousand males could vote, and this privilege was distributed with an utter disregard for population. The city of London had eight seats in Parliament, while the rural county of Cornwall...had forty-four. There were no representatives for good-sized cities such as Manchester and Birmingham.

So my memory of reading that book was not entirely accurate, apparently no "rotten borough" was able to send 100 to Parliament but my main point stands that there was rampant taxation without representation even in the mother country during the time of the Revolution.

21 posted on 07/04/2012 8:46:37 AM PDT by SamAdams76
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

Read the entire article...it is excellent. The author discusses the Colonies having the strongest and wealthiest middle class in the entire world and the various occupations that created wealth.


22 posted on 07/04/2012 9:47:32 AM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: SunkenCiv

23 posted on 07/04/2012 9:58:17 AM PDT by Old Sarge (We are now officially over the precipice, we just havent struck the ground yet)
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To: Pharmboy

Prayers for you and yours in the aftermath of the storm.


24 posted on 07/04/2012 10:18:47 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: SunkenCiv

Thanks much for the post...and w/o the Droid, I would be completely silent...I like my Droid.


25 posted on 07/04/2012 10:24:41 AM PDT by Pharmboy (Democrats lie because they must.)
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To: sinsofsolarempirefan
...by reading contemporary letters, which were written phonetically in the days before standard spelling rules were adopted).

Which brings me back to my true story about how I became involved in school and city politics back in 1967 and have remained so ever since.

My 7 yr. old daughter brought home a work sheet handed out by her 2nd grade teacher on the occasion of Washington's Birthday, which was still a Holiday in Berkeley, CA.

The paper included a picture to color and a few "factual" statements about George Washington with words missing for the children to fill in. One of the statements said "George Washington was poorly educated and couldn't spell."

I hit the ceiling and dragged my 4 little kids down to the local book store and purchased every book on George Washington that I could find that was suitable for their respective ages. I even bought a cute wooden model of Washington riding his horse for one of the younger ones. Then, I marched up to school on the day following the Holiday and demanded to know what the teacher was thinking handing out such tripe and misinformation to our kids. She (being 3 steps away from being a hippy, but dressed nicer) didn't care what I thought and made a snide remark that it was good that her efforts had encouraged me to "read a book". I was furious, and I've never taken my eyes off of what our schools are teaching our kids since, much to the chagrin of several school districts where I have resided since.

If these teachers who are so *ell-bent on undermining the reputations of our Founding Fathers could actually visit their homes (such as Mt. Vernon, Monticello, and others) and see what actually went into managing a plantation, they wouldn't be so snippy about our Founders.

26 posted on 07/04/2012 10:35:13 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

I suspect that George Washington and particularly Thomas Jefferson received educations of far more breadth and depth than the average American public school is even capable of providing...


27 posted on 07/04/2012 10:52:58 AM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
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To: afraidfortherepublic

I suspect that George Washington and particularly Thomas Jefferson received educations of far more breadth and depth than the average American public school is even capable of providing...


28 posted on 07/04/2012 10:53:21 AM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
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To: SamAdams76

I enjoyed that book.


29 posted on 07/04/2012 11:07:55 AM PDT by DeaconBenjamin (A trillion here, a trillion there, soon you're NOT talking real money)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Thanks for your kind thoughts and prayers. Others are, unfortunately, worse off than we are.


30 posted on 07/04/2012 11:16:09 AM PDT by Pharmboy (Democrats lie because they must.)
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To: sinsofsolarempirefan
Indeed. And when (because of his father's death) Washington was denied the education in England that he desired, he educated himself -- diligently -- with the help of his older brother who had been educated in England.

The canard that he couldn't spell comes from the fact that there was no standardized spelling rubric in place in the day. I wonder what they will be saying about our citizens educated after 2000 in the future? Very few, it seems, know proper grammar and spelling -- especially those who are facile with texting and spell check.

By the time he was 16, he was surveying land for his neighbor and by the time he was 21 he had saved enough from his pay to acquire 1200 acres for himself. Not too shabby, I'd say.

31 posted on 07/04/2012 11:32:50 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: ProtectOurFreedom

I did read it. Freedom works.


32 posted on 07/04/2012 1:29:32 PM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The Democratic Party strongly supports full civil rights for necro-Americans!)
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To: freedumb2003; Yashcheritsiy; GodGunsGuts; tpanther
What is “Darwinism?”

You have been posting over at "Darwin Central" since at least June 30, 2006 along with all the other banned Village People and gay-loving space cadets over there. Yet after spending 6 years braying in the company of all those babbling intelli-fellators you're still just too stupid to render a definition, are you?

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as posted currently defines Darwinism as:

"Darwinism" -- (First published Fri Aug 13, 2004; substantive revision Tue Jan 19, 2010)

"Darwinism designates a distinctive form of evolutionary explanation for the history and diversity of life on earth. Its original formulation is provided in the first edition of On the Origin of Species in 1859. This entry first formulates ‘Darwin's Darwinism’ in terms of five philosophically distinctive themes: (i) probability and chance, (ii) the nature, power and scope of selection, (iii) adaptation and teleology, (iv) nominalism vs. essentialism about species and (v) the tempo and mode of evolutionary change."

That's certainly one definition. Mine includes that, as well as its other related philosophical sub-headings (e.g., social Darwinism) and the corrosive world views that proceed from them (e.g., yours). Hence, the philosophical application of Darwinism gives rise to liberalism, and by extension -- to little liberal space cadets just like you.

Why don't you give it a try and tell us what your definition of Darwinism is -- or, is it just the fact that after 6 years spent posting over at Darwin Central it is still something that's way beyond your level of competence to verbalize?


33 posted on 07/04/2012 2:04:21 PM PDT by Agamemnon (Darwinism is the glue that holds liberalism together)
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To: Agamemnon

>>That’s certainly one definition. Mine includes that, as well as its other related philosophical sub-headings (e.g., social Darwinism) and the corrosive world views that proceed from them (e.g., yours). Hence, the philosophical application of Darwinism gives rise to liberalism, and by extension — to little liberal space cadets just like you<<

Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

I see your reasoning abilities still lie in your ability to fling useless and rather banal insults from inside your fence.

Thanks for the laugh — for me and many who ware reading.

FWIIW, there is no scientific study called “Darwinism.” Even as you stated, it is at best a colloquial term summarizing a set of somewhat related areas of study that is too complicated for many: thus the summary and meaningless term.


34 posted on 07/04/2012 2:37:03 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (Guns Walked -- People Died -- Holder Lied -- Obama Golfed (thanks, Secret Agent Man))
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