Monday, January 28, 2008

Question from Kelly - Climbing the social ladder

How easy was it to move up the social ladder (i.e to be born poor but to become wealthy)?

1 comment:

PhD Historian said...

Exceedingly difficult, but not impossible. The early Tudor era is sometimes described as the "Rise of the Genrty" because an increasing number of families became wealthier and gained greater participation in governmental affairs. Some of them did so by buying up newly available former monastic properties. Others did so by means of newly popularized education and entering fields such as the law. However, social mobility remained an exception, and the "rising gentry" represented only a tiny fraction of the total population. The overwhelming majority of English subjects in the sixteenth century were born, lived, and died in unchanging social and economic circumstances.