|Lord Granville Leveson-Gower|
As one who writes about imaginary aristocrats in the early 1800s, I’m dealing almost daily with the British class system. The process of trying to create historical authenticity involves a balancing act between the way people most likely behaved, given contemporary documents, and a way that’s more or less palatable to my readers, for whom my lord's and my lady's innate sense of privilege and superiority can be tough to swallow.
Yet Americans have a class system, too. In their 2001 documentary, People Like Us, Social Class in America,* Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker explore the subject. This video clip is the opening tease from the film, but if you're intrigued, you can set the other segments to follow in regular succession:
*This link will take you to background info and a social class game, among other things.
Illustration: Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1769-1830, British, Lord Granville Leveson-Gower, later 1st Earl Granville, between 1804 and 1809, Oil on canvas on canvas, courtesy Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.