Hatred, biogtry and The First Families of America
The idea of "The First Families of America" began in the mid-1800s as a way of creating something that the concept of The United States of America opposed, class distinction. For nearly 100 years, this new country had been trying to live up to it's decree that "All men are created equal". Here there was no King, no nobility, and no titles. And people from all over the world were coming to America to get a taste of that freedom. But many here people hated the new immigrants, as they do to this day. And, contrary to popular belief, that hatred and bigotry was not restricted to people who were of a different color, or who even look all that different. If you've read Nell Irvin Painter's The History of White People, you know what I am talking about.
Lists of "The First Families of America" were published to control power, and to limit opportunities for people. It created an "elite" for politics, business opportunities, and especially marriage. And in opposition that everything that this new country stood for, people were finding ways to undermine these words:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
And in a few years there would be a civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, could long endure.
Posted by Brad Hall