America: is it a classless society?

‘Ideas in America spread very fast because Americans are of one mind, and they are of one mind because they are, in their consciousness at least, of one class. It is this feeling of classlessness, ahistoric though it be, that brings about the marvelous homogeneity of the American mind. And of the American emotion. The American feels – just “human.” He has arrived, in his mind, at a state of classlessness, i.e. of humanity, and so is touched off by those sentiments only that are universal, uniform, “human.”‘

I read this today in an essay – ‘Americanism as Surrogate Socialism’ – by someone called Leon Samson. I’m not sure when it was written but I would guess the early 70’s since the book it’s in was published in 1974. I just wondered what you American readers make of that? Is it true now? Was it ever an accurate depiction of how Americans see themselves? I’d appreciate your comments because it’s hard to judge the veracity of such claims from this distance (time and geography!).

The reason for asking is this: Yates was very clear about class divisions and would have agreed that Americans in the 50’s and 60’s were denying the facts about social stratification. I am using this essay, along with a number of others, to substantiate my claims about what was really going on.


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