University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
How Class and Classicism in America Shaped and Defined American Politics and Government
Class and Classism is a significant dilemma in several parts of the world. Classism was initially created by Servius Tullius in one of the six orders that he used to divide the Roman people for taxation purposes. Classism represents a discriminatory attitude based on the distinctions derived from economic or social classes. Perhaps, the most elusive socio-economic and political ills confronting U.S today is the issue of class. The concerns and problems of class struggle cut across the social dimensions of ethnicity, race, and political affiliation, and educational background, national and geographic origin. Domhoff, (1977) defined class as the status a group, or an individual achieves by virtue of its economic strength, the power to affect change and the influence of other groups in its community of choice. Therefore, the issues surrounding class and classism through hierarchy of “Haves” and the “Have nots”, the promise, myth, and dogma of individualism in U.S, and the systematic oppression of subordinate societies have brought myriad changes in the politics and governance of United States. Domhoff, (1977) argues that class is not a new phenomenon. Nor class within the policy. Thus, class within the American society has existed for centuries. Since the beginning of men, you have always had the have and have nots. Association of class within the United States was in existence prior to the creation of the Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution and U.S. Federal Bureaucracy. It started when the British Monarchy set up their government and society structures their colonies.This paper will discuss and review how the Founding Fathers being the lesser member of the smaller group, which for the purpose of the paper are defined as the ruling class, were able to collectively shape and develop social and political agendas through collective action, and as a result, disenfranchised the greater members of society. Furthermore, this paper explores how the Collective Action of Groups Theory (Olson, 1979) helped to shape the discourse and thoughts of the Founding Fathers on social and political ideologies, which in turn, played a critical role in the creation of the United States. Moreover, more importantly, how the Founding Father’s ideologies on class impacted individuals within particular classes views on their own political affiliations and the United States Government.
Defining Class in America’s Society
When questioned about the needs of the working class individuals during 1988 presidential campaign, George Bush insisted that class was a “European thing” and that the Americans would never be divided by class. Although the critic, that views America as a dominant culture, observes that it is a classless society, most Americans recognize that deep class separates and divides them. The structure of class has been interwoven with the culture of the United States and its political system for well over two centuries, and has shaped the way in which people view their place in society and make their political decisions. The leading Founders thoughts and ideas have played a significant role for this to occur. The Founding Fathers were the ruling class at the time of the when the Declaration of Independence was written, the American Revolution was fought, the enactment of the U.S. Constitution and the development U.S. Federal Bureaucracy. The ruling class is defined as a social class of a given society that decides upon and sets that society’s political policy by mandating that there is one such particular class in the given society, and then appointing itself as that class (Domhoff, 1977). Karl Marx in his writings defined these men as distinguished and the educated who were dominant in their communities and states, and also prominent in national affairs (Oliver, 1984). This would explain why as a collective group, these men were able to achieve a certain level of success and in turn dominate society. One of the most well documented correlations in social science are the positive correlation between socioeconomic status and all forms of political and organizational participation (Oliver, 1984). This also explains why the Founding Fathers voted only to allow white male property owners the right to vote, whom at the time made up 10 to 16 percent of the nation’s population (Rowen, 2014). Their decision to not allow poor white men, women, and minorities the right to vote aligns with Olson’s Collective Action Theory.
As the small group, they made a decision to block a public right from the majority. Voting in most terms would be considered a non-rivalrous public good (Olson, 1971). Rosenberg, (2008) writes that in economics, rivalry is a characteristic of a good. A good can be placed along a continuum ranging from rivalrous (rival) to non-rival. The range is based on consumption and the price to produce the good. Since voting like the air was a considered a freedom, they should have quickly decided to make it a non-rivalrous public good. However, by blocking the right to vote from 90 percent of the people in the country the Founding Fathers made it rivalries (Zweig, 2000). Whereas, they placed a cost on voting that owned land.These men may have disagreed and to an extent attempted to disassociate their ideologies and politics from the British Monarchy, but their actions and thoughts conveyed a strong similarity. By disenfranchising 90 percent of society, they cast themselves and their peers as the ruling and dominating class. However, Zweig (2000) observes that in terms of experiences with other cultures, this is all they knew. Dr. Morris Massey, head of the psychiatry department at a Texas university, defines this behavior as “You Are What You Were When You Were Then” (Massey & Magnetic Video Corporation, 1976). Massey’s theory is that identity is primarily determined by the things that affect life up to the age of 10. Their behavior and how they made their decisions as a collective group also aligns with Henri Tajfel’s Social Identity Theory that states a person’s sense of who they are based on their group membership(s). Tajfel, (1979) proposed that the groups (e.g. social class, family, football team, etc.), which people belonged to, was an important source of pride and self-esteem. Groups give us a sense of social identity: a sense of belonging to the social world. Since these men experienced the rule of British Monchary that was entrenched in class for a vast majority of their life, it is highly probable they would create a system that placed individuals within a class. This would explain why these men used land as the defining factor. This provided them with a determining factor to define a class among all people.You would also wonder how these men could function in such a myopic way as it related to freedom and the rights of others? How could they outwardly caste others in a system that they so disliked? Their behavior at the time could be attributed to their socialization. Arnet, (1995) describes socialization as the process in which people acquire the behaviors and beliefs of the social world that are culture in which they live. Culturally, these men were accustomed to women being in subservient roles, minorities being used as slaves, and poor white people being indentured servants. Thomas Jefferson stated “The appointment of a woman to office is an innovation for which the public is not prepared, nor I” (Arnet, 1995). His sentiments at the time were most likely not an anomaly, but the norm. These men were socialized to believe their rights were above others (except for the ruling class of Britan). A similar message was conveyed in James Madision’s Federalist 10. Madison observed that the diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests (Arnet, 1995). The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties (Massey, 1976).
However, most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government (Massey, 1976). In his writings, Madison is acknowledging and justifying a class system based on assets and wealth. He is very clear on his position, in which the government is set-up to protect the owners of property and in turn, their wealth, which is interesting because this is counter opposite to Paine’s opinion on non-equalizers (family, land, and money) (Massey, 1976).Jefferson and Madisions behavior at the time align with Arnett’s definition of narrow socialization. Arnett defines narrow socialization as holding obedience and conformity to the highest values and discourage deviation from cultural expectations—again, not just through family socialization but through other sources of socialization as well. Based on the behavior of the Founding Fathers they seem more committed to conformity and obedience rather than challenging and open thinking environment. The creation of the U.S. Constitution is a perfect example. In creating the U.S. Constitution, the Founders sought to limit the power of the federal government and to protect (not grant) the natural rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Their focus and behavior were all based on their past experiences with the British Monarchy (Zinn, 2003). In reality, they were rebelling against a system that controlled and disenfranchised them, but they went forth in constructing a system that disenfranchised almost 90 percent of its citizens and empowered 10 percent (based on the voting law).
Ideology of Classism
Kadi, (1996) defined classism as a prejudice or discrimination on the basis of social class. It includes individual attitudes, behaviors, systems of policies, and practices that are set up to benefit the upper class at the expense of the lower class. A person’s economic class is neither real bad. It is just a reality. However, what is of interests is how individuals within their class act and behave as it relates to their class standing. Iwith reference to Olson’s theory of the Founding Fathers, it is apparent their small group over several years acted to further their interest (Kadi, 996). This has been clearly documented prior to, during, and after the American Revolutionary War. This was accomplished by strategically defining and casting people within certain classes, and using the government structure along with political and cultural strategies to achieve their objectives. This behavior aligns with Olson and his thoughts on the ability of smaller groups to manipulate larger groups. And through this manipulation the larger group would bear a disproportionate share of the burden (Barrow, 2014).According to Horowitz (2003), the Founding Fathers of the United States were clearly influenced by the British Monarchy, and their caste system. Class was a staple part of the British way of life. The British society was divided into three main groups of classes: upper class, middle class, and the lower or working class. The upper classes consisted of people with inherited wealth and include some of the oldest families, with many of them being titled aristocrats. The upper classes were defined by their title, but also by their education, and their pastimes which included the traditional sporting life involving hunting, shooting and fishing, as well as a great deal of horse riding for both leisure and as a competitive pursuit. The middle classes were the majority of the population and included industrialists, professionals, businesspeople and shop owners. And, the working class people were mostly agricultural, mine and factory workers (Barrow 2014).Because of the British Monarchy role in the history of the United States, it was a natural evolution for the Founding Fathers to borrow and blend new and old concepts pertaining to class (Daniel Carpenter). This is not to say that some of the Founding Fathers were not against the concept of class. Rather, it clearly highlighted in the writings of Thomas Paine. Thomas Paine published his book Rights of Man, in 1791, and stated that all men were equal and any non-equalizer such as money, power, prestige or titles, were wrong. Paine, (1791) felt that governments should reflect social equality; however, it was clear in the creation of the U. S. Federal Bureaucracy that the equalizers that Paine and others were against became and still exists in the United States politics and government.The Influence of Class in America’s HistoryZinn, (2003) asserts that the review of American history provides insights on why the nation is obsessed with wealth and class. The Founding Fathers served as an example for the lower class on how they used their Collective Action as a group to gain benefits and control over the country. The Founding Fathers clearly knew what they represented to the general public. Therefore, they used their wealth and class to manipulate and gain more power (Zinn, 2003). This manipulation of power was happening prior, during and after the revolutionary war. Zinn in his book “History is a Weapon” inscribes tha the individual that initially got recruited to the colonial militia were overall “hallmarks of respectability or at least of full citizenship” in their communities (Zinn, 2003). However, desperation resulted to recruiting fewer whites that were respectable in the society. According to Kim and National Bureau of Economic Research, (2007) the study of Massachusetts and Virginia provided for drafting “strollers” (vagrants) into the colonial militia. Indeed, observations by Kim et al. (2007) concludes that the military became a place of promise for the powerless and subordinate individuals, which might rise to the rank, get financial rewards and alter their social status.
The behavior of the Founding Fathers also aligns with cultural hegemony theory that describes the domination of a culturally diverse society by the ruling class, who manipulate the culture of that society, the beliefs, explanations, perceptions, values, and mores, so that their ruling-class worldview becomes the worldview that is imposed and accepted as the cultural norm; as the universally valid dominant ideology that justifies the social, political, and economic status quo as natural, inevitable, perpetual and beneficial for everyone, rather than as artificial social constructs that benefit only the ruling class (National Archives, 2014). This ability to control and dupe the working and lower class was not by accident. The imagery of freedom, opportunity and wealth is a strong influence that has been used for centuries to induce the poor into submission. This was clearly the case during the Revolutionary War. Zinn documents a soldier’s response to why he joins the war.
“I was a Shoemaker, & got my living by my Labor. When this Rebellion came on, I saw some of my Neighbors got into Commission, who were no better than myself. I was very ambitious, & did not like to see those Men above me. T was asked to enlist, as a private Soldier … I offered to enlist upon having a Lieutenants Commission; which was granted. I imagined myself now in a way of Promotion: if I was killed in Battle, there would be an end of me, but if any Captain was killed, I should rise in Rank, & should still have a Chance to rise higher. These Sir! were the only Motives of my entering into the Service; for as to the Dispute between Great Britain & the Colonies, I know nothing of it …,” (Zinn, 2003).
The question could be asked if this man were an anomaly. However, it is hard to dispute when you have Founding Fathers writing about the lack of commitment and passion from the soldiers. At the time, Alexander Hamilton was an aide to George Washington when he wrote:”. . . our countrymen have all the folly of the ass and all the passiveness of the sheep…. They are determined not to be free…. If we are saved, France and Spain must save us” (Hamilton, 2003).It was obvious the passion and commitment for change were not as significant for the poor and underclass. The soldiers were consistently quitting. Founding father John Adams’ estimated a third opposed, a third in support, a third neutral. So the nation was not squarely behind the decisions being made by the elite ruling class (Horowitz, 2003). So early in the history of this country’s history the various category/ groups had differing opinions on the directions of the country. One of the ways that the power owners or the ruling class addressed this issue was interesting, and also shows how the ruling class was committed to cultural hegemony as a collective group. Zinn, (2003) indicates that military conflict, by dominating everything in its time, made individuals take sides, lessened other issues, and forced people onto the revolution regime whose independence interests were very unclear.
Additionally, Zinn believed that the political elites that handles power learned through the generations-consciously or not-that war provides them security against interior trouble (Cone, 1991). This mindset of the Founding Fathers during the revolutionary war is an example of how the Constructivist Theory works. According to him, the Constructivist Theory provides that the mechanism of learning is an active process characterized by the creation of meaning from diverse familiarities (Cone, 1991). Through their early experience with the war, it was clear that all of the white men were not functioning as a collective group. As the Collective Action Theory states, some individuals will support an initiative, some will sit on the fence, and some will not support it all. And, through rethinking how to get the non-participants involved through constructivist thinking the Founding Fathers begin to implement new tactics, such as force of serving in the military.Through military force preparation, power owners of the high class found a procedure of pushing neutral people into the periphery. For instance, in Connecticut, Cone (1991) observes, a law was passed that required military service of all males between sixteen and sixty. This he reports omitted certain Yale students and faculty, Negroes, government officials, Indians, ministers, and mulattos. Therefore, when an individual was put on duty, he or she could provide a substitute or get fined 5 pounds to abscond the duty. Consequently, when a total of eighteen men failed to report to military duty, they got jailed. However, they could only be released after pledging to fight in the war. Perhaps what appeared like military force democratization in modern times shows up as a completely different issue (Cone, 1991). That is, an approach of forcing massive defiant individuals to associate themselves with the national cause, and finally believe in it.The Constitutionalization and Classism in AmericaJensen, (2012) writes that during the United States Bicentennial Constitution, it is accurate to argue on the political and economic wisdom of the United States Founding Fathers. Historically, there is no constitution in the world that established successful and durable economic democracy than the United States. However, economy is presented in the political inclinations, and the enormous success of the economy of the United States was independent of the political system. Indeed, the current economic issues in the United States might as a result of the failure of the political wisdom to follow the guides of the founding fathers based on the concept of class. Jensen, (2012) further elaborates that the American Founding Fathers developed the constitution in order to serve the economic interest of a specific class of individuals, which are the capitalists. According to him, the Constitution documented by the founding fathers was based on the concept of class as it protected the economic rights of the capitalists. Multiple aspects of the constitution mention aspects of economic and financial matters that were put in place to secure economic functioning that would benefit the investors (Jensen, 2012).Furthermore, the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution to provide a favorable national economic environment in which businesses could thrive. To counter this, a central authority, the United States Congress, were authorized to control the foreign commerce and interstate, the coinage of money, federal tax collection, patents and copyrights and the defense of states. Besides, the constitution supported sanctity of contracts, property rights and the due process of law. Illustratively, the Supreme Court decisions, for instance, Dartmouth v. Woodward (1819) provided that the judiciary supported a business friendly environment (Jensen, 2012). Although the United States Constitution assisted in easing the concern of the business majority, it did not provide complete economic issues of the United States. Therefore, a national monetary system was founded to control the issues of debts. As such, the capitalists were provided with a favorable environment for conducting business that developed power over the subordinate society.In the modern society, Bishaw and Semega (2008) observes, the political campaigns provide a significant problem of financial resources. The technological changes have demanded that the politicians raise lots and lots of money. Not surprisingly, Young (2000) further writes that a system that heavily relies on financial contributions has tilted towards organizations and individuals that can give big. As such, the politicians get linked to the wealthy individuals or the capitalists in the society to provide financial sponsorship of their candidature. In turn, the politicians pass bills and laws that suit the interest of the few wealthy dignitaries in the American society. Indeed, politics in U.S has followed the footsteps of the constitution that protects the economic rights of few high-class individuals in the society that in turn fund politicians. As such, class in the American society continues to emerge with discrimination observable in the political interests and representations (Young, 2000). The issue of class has made America a nation where politicians serve the interest of the capitalist that forms the minority of the population hence ignoring 90 percent of the electorate. Furthermore, Arcs and Zimmerman, (2008) indicates that excessive reliance on the electorate system on financial capital also determines what kind of interests gets heard and what kind of policies are passed. Classism according to Arcs et al. (2008) appears to control politics in America with the capitalists funding politicians. Therefore, as money controls politics, the low social class hardly influences politics by voting or contacting their legislators that later amplifies the capitalist influences. Domhoff, (1977) highlights that the Commerce Clause of the Supreme Court provides opinion reflecting an apparent effort to modernize and rationalize the analytical framework for delineating the implied constraints imposed by the state legislation. According to him, the constitution articulated a set of coherent criteria controlling the validity of the state taxes on interstate commerce. Furthermore, the constitution discarded inconsistent doctrine with the set standards. In the context of state regulation, the constitution enunciated meaningful decisional principles governing commerce. According to the US Constitution, the commerce clause is a power granted by Congress, but not an express limitation on the state’s power to regulate the economy. However, the wealthy individuals often have the final say in the taxation policies that favors their business interests (Domhoff, 1977). As such, classism has made the wealthy individuals get heard in making policies such as taxation policies that altogether re-shapes the governance and politics of America. Therefore, the constitutional wisdom of the Founding Fathers is present today, and it has promoted classism that in turn affects the politics and governance in America.
Class Today in America
The primary institutionalization basis of classism is the economic system, Gilbert and Kahl (1993) indicates. Capitalism, Gilbert, and colleague, observes get structured based on classes that in turn influence the politics and governance of America. According to Gilbert et al. (1993), the three key institutions, that generate classes, are hierarchical organizations, private ownership, and capitalist division of labor. These institutions produce class-based systems of political dominion and subordination between the managers and the managed, the owners and those who do not own, and the professionals and these without professional credentials. Thus, the political dominion by these dominant groups means that the politicians must serve their economic interest in order to achieve their financial support. The economic production of the dominant groups requires government policies that emphasize on security and good governance to enable them reproduce their modes of production and distribution.Fast forward 239 years, and Americans are still grappling with class as it relates to all areas of society. It is still a challenge to address and discuss class as it relates to government, politics, and race within the country. This challenge can partly be laid at the hands of the Founding Fathers. Through cultural hegemony, they manipulated society to believe that “all” citizens were created equally and had a voice in the decisions being made within government (Gilbert and Kahl, 1993). But, within the same space they systematically defined what voices mattered by only allowing landowners the right to vote. This simplistic move set forth and defined the influence of class in the terms of money, assets, and influence. This also sets up the environment of social exclusion. Social exclusion, according to Hess (2006), is the process where individuals or a community are systematically partially or fully blocked from various opportunities, rights, and resources customarily available to the society, and which is fundamental to social integration within that specific group (Hess, 2006). By excluding poor white men from voting, they intentionally manipulated the government structure to support their desires and interests at the cost of the 90 percent. Fast forward well over 239 years later, we have a new movement with protests being conducted across the country about the 1 percent ruling class (Paine, 1999). In direct approach, the phrase refers to income and wealth concentration among the top earning representing 1 percent and as well as a reflection of an opinion that 99 percent are paying heavily for the mistakes of a small minority within the upper class (Paine, 1999).Some may argue and contend that the law for non-votes was in existence for less than 60 years, and by 1850 allowed all white males were given the right to vote. However, scholars still questions on the number of generations that got impacted by the decision. Secondly it raises concerns about the influences it has in the current American society. Undeniably, Rowen, (2014) indicates that the United States of America is the world oldest and most esteemed democracy. However, the impacts of class according to him, in the society have led to pervasive and serious problems in its politics and government.
The concept of classism, Rowen (2014) writes, has for the last half century promoted disgust among the Americans. Classism has reduced the trust of the public in the political institutions, elected officials, and increasingly becoming indifferent to democratic participation. Classism in America has reduced the levels of civic engagement and trust in government. David et al. (2009) highlights that activity such as voting, working on campaigns, contacting elected officials that depend upon democracy has significantly reduced over the past two generations. By virtue of class, the elected officials are considered a representative of few individuals rather than the electorate. Most Americans believe that politicians lie and pander to serve their political interests and that of the rich individuals or the high class (David & Weimer, 2009).The Generational Impact of Social Exclusion Based on ClassResearch shows that social exclusion creates a host of long lasting issues and challenges to the individuals or groups that have been excluded. This is clearly evident with the recent 99 percent protesters. This long lasting impact is clearly seen in the actions of the Founding Fathers. One of the biggest issues that helped to launch the American Revolution was the argument about taxation without representation (Young, 2000). Of course, the group with the biggest argument was the Founding Fathers. Most of these men were wealthy, upper middle class, and the educated. With all their wealth and education they still had to contend with a society that limited their social mobility were woven into the fabric of the state, which meant they were excluded from the higher echelons of politics and government (Rosenberg, 2008). This exclusion had to be a constant reminder to these men that in reality, they had no voice. Anytime group is excluded from a process it is oppression, and oppression of any kind creates repercussions for all.Research by Iris Marion Young documents that there are five “faces” of oppression: exploitation, violence, powerlessness, marginalization, and cultural imperialism (Young, 2000). Reading from the concept of the Founding Fathers of America, most likely, they felt powerless, marginalized, and culturally imperialized. By having to pay taxes, and no say in the direction of the government, and the lack representation would surely touch on several types of oppression that Iris Young has identified. Likewise, reports from media titled “Classism Does NOT Go Both Ways” (2014) provides that that that people and groups who have experienced social exclusion attempt to reconnect at some point. This reconnection can take the form of (a) ingratiating social behavior, (b) attention toward and sensitivity to social cues, and (c) the activation, exaggeration, and even the invention of perceived relationships to important individuals or groups. It is significant to acknowledge and remember this point since it relates to classicism among white males in the United States.After the revolution, it is clear that the Founding Fathers adopted some of the same thoughts and ideas of their perceived oppressors in how they viewed and treated poor whites. Data shows that poor White males were in a challenging situation. Their plight could almost be compared to minority males over the centuries in the United States. Thomas, (2014) writes about the national situation in the post-war mid-1780s. He further documents that the merchants and coastal wholesalers made several efforts to re-establish large-scale trade with the Great Britain. However, the British merchants ceased from offering credit and instead demanded cash (“specie”). As a result, the wholesale traders insisted on the use of hard money from shopkeepers. Likewise, the shopkeepers saw it wise that the farmers repay their loans in cash with immediate effect (Thomas, 2014). The American farmers had previously been used for loan settling for goods, crops, and labor. Unexpectedly, farmers were matched into debtor courts leading to the seizure of their properties such as land and goods when they couldn’t pay or get confined for unpaid debts. For instance, Thomas (2014) provides that in the farming community of Hampshire County Massachusetts from 1784 to 1786 32.4 percent of the county’s men over sixteen were hauled into court, and many were thrown into jail. The conditions of the jail were deplorable. Prisoners were stockpiled into one cell and were held without proper food, ventilation, many got sick and some died.The Founding Fathers in a quick turn of circumstances went from being the oppressed to the oppressor by determining and controlling who could vote. In turn, poor white men, who fought for liberty to pursue freedom, were given limited freedom. It seems this one historical fact, has been overlooked. The studies that address or discuss the effects of social exclusion of poor white people are significant because it explains the cultural beliefs and ideas as it relates to poor white people in rural and southern areas in the United States (Zweig, 2000). This would also explain how poor whites tend to identify collectively with political referendum that doesn’t support their own economic plight. According to Zweig, (2000), the observations of Molden and Mane that discusses the impacts of social exclusion that makes the excluded find ways to ingratiate themselves with their oppressor; along with paying close attention to social clues; and, the creation of an exaggerated connection. This is clearly the case with poor whites as a collective group.The ruling class has established certain symbolic meanings for being an American, and by following those meanings, you are closely aligned with them. Cone, (1991) writes that from saluting the flag, singing the national anthem, prayers in school, and so forth, the ruling class has established certain social norms that most poor whites can identify and follow. Besides setting up symbolic meanings, the early ruling class defined and created a structure to provide privilege to those they deemed worthy. This was successfully done through government, organizations, and social settings. This aligns with MSS research in which they highlight that the rights and privileges are supported and defined through rules, laws, individual strength and conventions. According to the research, rules and laws are political power instruments the government and politically affluent uses to determine the social structure (Cone, 1991). For instance, gift properties and selling rights that support the privileges of the property-owning class. Furthermore, conventions and customs provides social determinants of structure, for example, Cone (1991) provides that the privilege on the basis of religion, caste, or economic class, personality strength and individual capacity, he observes, are also elements that defines social privilege, for instance, the rights accumulating to the wisest most skillful, strongest, or most courageous personalities. According to the research, these rules, conventions, laws, and customs, which support and define privileges and rights of power owners, besides, perpetuate the denial of rights to the section of the community that is underprivileged or unprivileged. As such, the structure developed by the political affluent to foster societal development based on greater functional efficiency, also acts as a barrier that positively eliminates a part of the society from benefiting from the accruing development (Cone, 1991).ConclusionClass affects people from emotional, economic, political, and social level. The attitude of the classists has caused great pain in American politics and governance by dividing the subordinate group members from one another as well as suppressing individual means for personal fulfillment. The impact of class that has resulted in the usual level of collusion between the dominant group members and the subordinate group member has led to means of survival by gaining access to the resources retained by the dominant group. Indeed, class is more than just economics and social dynamics of classism. The patterns of behavior and thinking of classists at personal level promotes classism that results into politics of self-interest and that of the wealthy individuals. While the founding fathers believed that economic and political freedom are twin pillars of democracy, it has promoted a high degree of classism in America. This has led to politics of oppression and personal gains.The founding father of the United States adopted the first written constitution that protected the economy of the country by protecting businesses, personal property, rights of speech and authorizing the Congress to control the commerce of the country. While their contribution cannot be ignored nor disputed, it led to elements of classism that continues to influence the politics and governance of America. In a nutshell, the freedom of classism requires a reversing conditioning process through healing of the class and political oppression wounds, reclaiming the past and present class experiences and sorting present classism to enable the country shape its political identities and foster positive relationships and cohesion among the Americans.
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