The Decline of American Gentility

The Decline of American Gentility

The Decline of American Gentility

The Decline of American Gentility

Excerpt

During the course of the nineteenth century the theory and practice of gentility in America underwent a continuous process of diffusion and attenuation, so that after the First World War it served no useful purpose to make the older distinction between gentlemen and common men. The principal object of this book is to explore the reasons for the final disappearance of a social type that had flourished throughout the Western world for three centuries or more.

By the time of American colonial settlement, the gentleman had achieved a well-defined status among the privileged classes of Britain and the continental European countries. Everywhere, he combined a measure of author-

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