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February 16 , 2009

Social Structure of Revolutionary America


Professor Main’s conviction is that an understanding of political history in Colonial America depends on a knowledge of the country’s underlying social structure. To provide this he examines different types of societies in revolutionary America between 1763 and 1788: frontier, subsistence farm, commercial farm, urban. He studies in detail the nature of land ownership, distribution of property and income, relations between income levels and culture, and the extent of social mobility. Thousands of probate and. tax records are examined to provide an analysis of the economic class structure of a new nation. Traditional historical techniques are combined with a conceptual framework from sociology relating to class structure, stratification, and mobility.

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Originally published in 1965.

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