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date: 01 December 2021

Social Class. 

Source:
The Oxford Companion to United States History
Author(s):
Stuart M. BluminStuart M. Blumin

Americans have long cherished a belief in the essential classlessness of their society. While acknowledging large inequalities of wealth and income, they have characteristically attached little significance to social class either as a source of personal identity or as a fundamental aspect of social order, and have insisted upon the instability and permeability of such class boundaries as do exist. Indeed, the practice of egalitarian democracy in an open and “classless” society constitutes the core of American exceptionalism. The reality of American social relations, however, is more complex, combining, in different ways in different eras, both fluidity and egalitarianism on the one hand and structured social hierarchy on the other.... ...

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