Well-Structured Class System in Britain.

Essay by xzjjeff April 2003

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Well-Structured Class System in Britain

In the 18th century, the British society was divided into different classes. London, one of the biggest cities in Great Britain at that time, reflects that class system with its different living conditions and privileges.

At the top of London society there were aristocrats and merchants, lawyers and high civil servants. The merchants were often land owners which gave their children the opportunity to marry an aristocrat. This was a chance for them to acquire a title in their own right, like Sir George who married Olive Drome. Before his marriage he had only had a "little corner shop in a low-class district of Edinburgh". He had been "a penny-pinching Edinburgh chandler", "no more honest than he had to be". Now he is the "laird" of High Glen and has extensive powers. The merchants and the lawyers lived in the city, but they also had an estate in the countryside.

This is also shown in the novel as the Jamissons have an estate in Heugh and a house in London.

The male members of this class had a lot of political influence as they had the right to vote and belonged to the ruling class. They had more rights than the other classes below them. They also controlled the Bank of London. Women in this class had to raise their children and stay at home to organize the household. They heavily depended on their husbands. Between the upper and the lower class there were the craftsmen and the artisans, the social class known as "the middling sort".

As long as trade was good they could live a good life, but if that was not the case they had problems although they had a right of a fixed minimum wage. They had more rights than...