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Gentlemen of Uncertain FortuneHow Younger Sons Made Their Way in Jane Austen's England$
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Rory Muir

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300244311

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300244311.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

Money and Society

Money and Society

(p.22) Chapter Two Money and Society
Gentlemen of Uncertain Fortune

Rory Muir

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the incomes of younger sons, as this has a bearing upon their position in society. Younger sons, in short, needed to work to secure their positions. Money was very important but it was not the only thing that decided someone's place in society. At the very top of the tree the chapter reveals three distinct but overlapping hierarchies: birth, wealth, and political power. The aristocracy dominated the ownership of land and still controlled a substantial share of the country's wealth, although the rapid growth of new industries, the colonial empire, and overseas trade was diluting its pre-eminence. There were many self-made men of large fortune; and also quite a number of relatively poor peers.

Keywords:   money, society, social hierarchies, birth, wealth, political power, finances, trade, professions

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