Important People in White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America

Nancy Isenberg
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Richard Hakluyt

Richard Hakluyt was an Oxford fellow and clergyman who devoted his life to compiling the travel narratives of explorers. Isenberg refers to him as one of the chief promoters of American exploration, though never having stepped foot on the continent. His propaganda painted America as a “lovely woman waiting to be wooed and wed by the English” (18). Hakluyt saw America as a “waste firm,” suggesting her natural resources could be converted to English commodities at the hands of England’s “waste people” (21). The exploitation of the poor at the hands of the elite was a theme planted by Hakluyt that never truly left American political discourse.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson saw human behavior as conditional and adaptable; across generations, behavior would conform to shifts in the physical and social environment. Jefferson defined class as the intersection of land and labor, or the ability for people to...

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This section contains 2,093 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America Study Guide
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