USA and aristocracy

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,768
Dispargum
The only American aristocracy is old money vs new money. Old money refers to familes that have been extremely wealthy for more than one or two generations. New money is first generation wealth, also known as self-made men and now women. Old money sends their children to elite schools where they acquire a certain set of manners. New money, of course, still practices the manners of the common people and so tend to be looked down upon by old money.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,524
There isn't a formal aristocracy and there never has been one. There certainly is not a clear ranking of aristocracy with royalty and nobility and such. Money is more important relative to background as compared to Europe, certainly to Britain. There isn't class privilege like it Britain. You don't need to be from a certain background to be a military officer or work on Wall Street. There are plenty of wealthy people not from fancy backgrounds. There are also certain fancy neighborhoods where you sort of have to be from a certain background, and others where no one cares.

There was a pretty strong class system in the old south, but land and slaves were property that could be bought and sold. In colonial times there was an oligarchy that were members of the governor's council. There is the social directory, and people in it are supposed to marry others in it. Presidents Roosevelt and Bush were in it. They may consider themselves aristocrats, but it isn't respected as in Europe. Ordinary people don't care about that sort of thing, and aren't impressed by it. There are elite clubs and elite private schools and so on. There is the Society of Cinnicinnatus, with one member for each Revolutionary War officer, along the oldest male line if possible. Senator McCain's father and brother were members, as was Winston Churchill through his American mother. Americans who made huge amounts in business would marry someone classy and then try to marry their kids to British aristocracy.
 
Last edited:
Jun 2017
2,996
Connecticut
Is there in the USA an authentic national historical aristocray ? from knight to prince ?
Not authentic. There was a movement to create some form of one during the founding especially in the Federalist party but Washington quashed that.

Judges are treated like aristocrats in terms of titles, "your honor", etc but that isn't hereditary of course. Unofficially there is a very real hereditary aristorcacy, but it's unofficial and doesn't come with titles, it comes with being boosted into roles on family name with minimal attention to merit not no merit. Examples would be the Rockefeller's and the Astors(formerly) in respect to business, Kennedy's, Bush's etc in terms of political power. That being said unlike in an actual aristocracy, some degree of merit is required to maintain the wealth and especially power of previous generations.

I think a crazy homeless man did get officially recognized as the king or duke of a city by the elected representatives of said city once. Think it was San Fran maybe? Someone was telling me about that but not sure it was San Francisco.
 

M9Powell

Ad Honorem
Oct 2014
4,456
appalacian Mtns
Judges are addressed you're honor. Doctors are addressed as Doctor. Anyone in the military or retired with 20 or more years of service is entitled to be addressed by their rank. In my case Staff SGT. Congressmen & Senators. A private wearing the medal of honor is to be saluted even by a General. Those are the only titles I'm aware of.

PS Mayors & police chiefs are addressed by their titles, Sherrifs also. Policemen & deputy are not generally addressed by their rank by civilians, but they may be. Very few civilians can read rank anyway. The only time I would insist on being addressed by rank would be if I was in court in uniform. A lawyer has to address me as Staff Sgt. That puts them in their place a bit. "Lawyers, 90% of them give the other 10% a bad reputation". The only profession less trustworthy are used car salesmen & military recruiters.
 
Last edited:

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,491
T'Republic of Yorkshire
Judges are addressed you're honor. Doctors are addressed as Doctor. Anyone in the military or retired with 20 or more years of service is entitled to be addressed by their rank. In my case Staff SGT. Congressmen & Senators. A private wearing the medal of honor is to be saluted even by a General. Those are the only titles I'm aware of.

PS Mayors & police chiefs are addressed by their titles, Sherrifs also. Policemen & deputy are not generally addressed by their rank by civilians, but they may be. Very few civilians can read rank anyway. The only time I would insist on being addressed by rank would be if I was in court in uniform. A lawyer has to address me as Staff Sgt. That puts them in their place a bit. "Lawyers, 90% of them give the other 10% a bad reputation". The only profession less trustworthy are used car salesmen & military recruiters.
Server politicians too, no? Secretary X, Senator Y, Governor Z.

Also Kentucky Colonels, regardless of whether they're finger lickin good.
 
Last edited:

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,524
Thank you very much.Were the indians leaders considered as the "nobility" of the old America ?
Early on, yes. The Cherokee chiefs were mostly white, as earlier chiefs married British and French officers' daughters. In colonial times, chiefs were referred to as half kings. Pocahontas married into the English Virginia elite, her son got land supposedly from his chief grandfather, and many of the First Families of Virginia are descended from her.


Server politicians too, no? Secretary X, Senator Y, Governor Z.

Also Kentucky Colonels, regardless of whether they're finger lickin good.
I think there were a lot of honorary Kentucky militia colonels. The militia was sort of abolished around 1900 and converted into the more professional national guard. Before that militia commissions were often based on social status, as well as wealth and connections. Particularly in the south, civilians would be addressed by militia officer rank. It had more status, because there weren't aristocratic titles or ranks.

There were actually Dutch titled nobility in New York state who owned huge tracts of lands with tenant farmers. Steven van Rennselear was one of the ten richest men in the world, based on inheritted titled land. He was a lawyer, top politician in New York and a Brigadier and commander of the New York militia. He didn't know much about military matters but commanded a disasterous invasion of Canada in the War of 1812.

There weren't large land holding outside of New York, the south, and the southwest. Many of the Spanish land holders lost their land after the Mexican War and southern planters were at least temporarily impoverished by the Civil War.