But middling authors did not labor to perpetuate the old expectations of class deference.
The middling folk who were elevating the virtue of self-madeness were finally capitalizing on the fact that economic change had long been eroding the social-material foundations of that old order.
69) If we miss this early affinity of middling folks for Chesterfieldian advice, we will miss the rising of the middle class.
Other examples of Founders of middling backgrounds keenly interested in manners and observing others as a way of acquiring them are William Patterson and Benjamin Rush.
See his "From Middling Sort to Middle Class in Late Eighteenth-and Early Nineteenth-Century England," in Social Orders and Social Classes in Europe Since 1500: Studies in Social Stratification, ed.
Richard Bushman recognizes that the great dividing line dropped to include the middling sort before the mid-nineteenth century, but does not think it began to do so until the very end of the eighteenth century, The Refinement of America (New York, 1992), pp.
Richard Bushman, unlike Wood, understands the emulative nature of the middling pursuit of refinement, but he, too, argues for a gentry/commons gulf till the end of the century.
Richard Bushman acknowledges that middle-class Americans adopted aristocratic manners, but does not recognize these special emphases that serve to differentiate the middling character of revolutionary-era manners from the deferential elite model of the seventeenth century.