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Gentry and Townspeople

             The Colonial Society in America was not that different than in Europe. When the colonists came over, they kept many of their beliefs and customs. They accepted the fact that society was made up of ranks, with certain groups having more power and wealth than others. The lifestyles of the gentry differed from the artisan and the tradespeople, for example. These differences could be seen in clothes, houses, and manners.
             The gentry were the most important members in colonial society. To be a part of the "gentle" folk, one had to be wealthy. The gentry set themselves apart from the other classes in that they were able to hire people to work for them, and they would just supervise. They also wore wigs and other fashionable clothing. To impress others, especially in the Southern colonies, they built mansions and townhouses for themselves. There sons were sent to expensive schools and they taught their daughters how to run a household. However, the colony still needed people in specialized skills and trade to keep the colony alive. .
             The artisans and tradespeople were just the ones who filled that need. Most families sent their sons to become apprentices, so they could learn a trade. These people provided important goods for the town, such as tinware, pottery, and glassware. Local news and information could be found with the printers. In the Southern Colonies, farmers worked on large plantations and grew cash crops, but in the New England and the Middle Colonies, the poor soil only allowed small subsistence farms. Most of these people became fishermen, living off the sea. Fishing became a main industry and promoted growth in shipbuilding. These people respected the gentry, because of there belief of social ranks.
             Although the different social classed led different lifestyles, they still had similar beliefs. One was that people were not equal. For example, men were superior to women and wealthy were superior to poor.

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