“Through all that growth, the upper class was getting most of the benefits and monopolized political power. A historian who studied Boston tax lists in 1687 and 1771 found that in 1687 there were, out of a population of six thousand, about one thousand property owners. and that the top 5 percent- 1 percent of the population- consisted of fifty who rich individuals who had 25 percent of the wealth. By 1770, the top 1 percent of property owners owned 44 percent of the wealth” p.49
“The 3 Richest Americans Hold More Wealth Than Bottom 50% of the Country, Study Finds” Forbes 2017
Throughout this chapter, it becomes clear that much of the racism present in America during the 1600 and 1700s spawned from white poverty/desperation that the upper class exploited as a means to guarantee their own wealth and power. The book clearly lays out evidence that racial hatred is not a naturally occurring phenomenon in humans so it must be developed through life experience. All throughout history those who have the money have the influence and ability to shape society to whatever suits their needs best. At the time it was in the upper classes’ interest to prevent white poor Americans from teaming up with black slaves to remove them from power. The book also mentions how it was in rich people’s interest to create a barrier between their property and the indigenous people and their means of doing so was by placing less wealthy white people there to act as a barrier. I became angry reading the chapter at the thought of rich people throwing their money around to manipulate society to their gain in a way that destroys the livelihood of so many people. Not only did they dehumanize an entire population of people based solely on their race, manipulate politics/politicians to secure there place in society, and allow the whole lower section of society to starve and go cold in winter, but they then proceeded to hoodwink that entire underprivileged section of society into believing they could move up in society and were not at the bottom of the totem pole through the exploitation of black and indigenous people.
The reasons I include the Forbes quote above is that it is eerily similar to the quote from the book despite the fact that they are speaking about time periods well over 200 years apart. My anger carries over to modern day. This is a textbook example of historical fallout and demonstrates that it is easy to see the faults of societies of the past, but more difficult to recognize the significance of modern day issues. Rich exploitation of the lower class and politics permeates history and still exists in our current period. After all, Americans today still go hungry and freeze during the winter, despite the fact that there are also Americans(Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett) who have more wealth than they could ever possibly spend in one lifetime. One of the greatest moral flaws of our nation is that we allow for both of these social classes to exist in the name of capitalism. The majority of Americans do not seem to understand how little the system has changed over the years and how much they are being kept in the dark on these issues. The American Dream hoodwinks people into accepting the system with the belief that they could someday, through hard work, be apart of the exploiting group of society when it is highly unlikely. Even worse, the same minority groups of the past who paid the price for the economic gap, still suffer the consequences today. How do you think people will write about the modern economic disparity in 200 years? I personally don’t think it will be viewed in a high regard.