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Franklin, Jefferson and Paine

            In order to compare the perceptions of America held by these eighteenth century visionaries to those held today, we must first establish what exactly the modern view of American society is.
             Some might suggest it is a land of opportunity and freedom of expression, as it was often considered, and hoped for, by those who colonised it in the seventeenth century. However, particularly outside the United States, we can see a quite alternative interpretation to this nave and somewhat dated description.
             The overwhelming social and economical hierarchy displays a massively contradictory attitude to this concept of equality for all. Although this does mirror some initial acceptance and even encouragement of an almost feudal system, as early as 1630. Aboard the Arbella, en route to the New World, John Winthropp described the inequality of wealth and social/political status (into which people were born at the time) as "for the glory of (the individual's) Creator and the common good of the creature, man."" .
             Later however the religious emphasis put on American lifestyle by the first Puritan settlers was lost, to an extent, with writers such as Franklin who suggested it was not a message from God whether or not, for instance, a crop flourished or failed, but could be influenced by man's hand. Early colonisation saw a reluctance to do hard labour which caused serious problems in establishing successful communities. Then with the growth of trade and the ability to import slaves many wealthier landowners and businessmen decreased their own workload in favour of having slaves. However this practise grew less popular as those who had suffered less successful businesses or had worked in employment strove to be equally as self sufficient as their superiors but at their own hand. This was stimulated by the fear that being under command of an authority and totally dependant for salary, housing, clothing etc.

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