Did Differences in Wealth and Status in the Colonies Increase of Diminish from 1700 to 1750?

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Throughout the history of mankind, there has always been a gap between the wealthy and the poor. America made miniscule attempts to end this course of action, but it is simply human nature and therefore cannot be changed. From 1700 to 1750, the differences in wealth and status in the colonies continued to increase. Once the gap started to widen, it was very difficult to alter due to the structure of the political system (or lack thereof). The plague of war created a class of widows and orphans, who became dependant for their survival on charity. The supply of unclaimed land dwindled and families grew, existing landholdings were repeatedly subdivided. By 1750, Boston supported a large number of homeless poor, who were supported by charity, and compelled to wear a large red “P” on their clothing. The riches created by the growing slave population in the eighteenth century were not distributed evenly among the whites. Wealth was concentrated in the hands of the largest slave owners, widening the gap between the prosperous gentry and the “poor whites”. In conclusion, the differences in wealth and status greatly increased from 1700-1750 in the colonies. The wealthy seized every opportunity to add to their high status. These opportunities were often times a chance for the poor to “climb out of the gutter” a little bit. Instead, the poor were forced to rely on charity and support from taxes. The social and political structure of colonial America was very poor, allowing the difference in wealth and status to increase.

Kennedy, David M. and Cohen, Lizabeth and Bailey, Thomas A. The American Pageant: Thirteenth Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006.
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