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Social Classes in the Elizabethan Era

During Shakespeare's time, society in England and other places were divided in social classes from the Monarch to the poor and unemployed.
by

Jonathan Peraza

on 24 February 2011

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Transcript of Social Classes in the Elizabethan Era

Social Class System in Elizabethan England Gentlemen- Landholding Commoners- Yeomen and Husbandmen- Townsfolk- Laborers- MONARCH Queen Elizabeth I- She ruled England during the Elizabethan Era after her father and siblings passed down the throne to her. In her daily life, she would watch over her kingdom and make choices in warfare and politics. She had the ability to be able to knight honorable men. ("The People of Elizabethan England." The Lost Colony Performances. ) Nobles(Nobility)- Social Class- a group of people whom possess the same socioeconomic status. ("Social Class." Encyclopedia Britannica) Nobles maintained huge, lavish households where they were required to greet foreign nobles to England and house and entertain them at their own expense. ("The People of Elizabethan England." The Lost Colony Performances. ) In contrast to nobles in France and Spain, nobles in England were subject to taxation daily. (Sommerville, J.P. "Social Structure) Knights- Honorable, respected, highest social class Knights were military leaders who led the army on battlefield, but later the military rank of knight was a mark of honor. Knights would often be used in politics to accomplish conspiracies and schemes in foreign lands. (Sommerville, J.P. "Social Structure) Esquires (Squires)- Esquires carried Knights in their ancestry,although they could not inherit the class. Esquires performed the daily tasks of nobles. (Singman, Jeffrey L. "Daily Life in Elizabethan England.") Clergy- Clergymen worked in churches. They led their communities as a relgious leader. (Singman, Jeffrey L. "Daily Life in Elizabethan England.") Second in the ranks, payed rent to the gentlemen. Freeholders- They held land, but passed it down their family line. Freeholders had to pay rent to the gentlemen. (Singman, Jeffrey L. "Daily Life in Elizabethan England.") Leaseholders- Leaseholders also owned land. They lived their daily lives on their land with tenanciesbut had to renew their tenancies when they expired. (Singman, Jeffrey L. "Daily Life in Elizabethan England.") Copyholders- Owned land like every other rank in the landholding commoners. They payed rent, but without a lease. (Singman, Jeffrey L. "Daily Life in Elizabethan England.") Yeomen- Yeomen were equal to land commoners. They lived simply improving and expanding their land. ("The People of Elizabethan England." The Lost Colony Performances.) Husbandmen- They were farmers of the Elizabethan Era. They would produce crops for themselves, family and to sell at the market. (Singman, Jeffrey L. "Daily Life in Elizabethan England.") Lived in town, considered normal citizens and own businesses and trade. Masters- They owned their own businesses in a craft or trade. They took on apprentices and journeymen under their wing as masters in a craft or trade. (Singman, Jeffrey L. "Daily Life in Elizabethan England.") Journeymen- They sold their craft or trade after 7 years of apprenticeship. (Singman, Jeffrey L. "Daily Life in Elizabethan England.") Apprentice- They worked under an apprenticeship for masters. Day to day they were learning a craft or trade from that master. (Singman, Jeffrey L. "Daily Life in Elizabethan England.") Worked for the other classes. Cottagers- They were in charge of grazing animals. Cottagers would be seen everyday grazing animals on public ground. (Singman, Jeffrey L. "Daily Life in Elizabethan England.") Servants- They served families and were treated as part of the family. Each day they served those families with the hope of rising to a higher social class as was usual for servants. (Singman, Jeffrey L. "Daily Life in Elizabethan England.") Poor and Unemployed- They could be any time of person, elderly, children, wives, widows, or soldiers from the war. They were always wandering the town looking for a job. (Singman, Jeffrey L. "Daily Life in Elizabethan England.") Poor and Unemployed- The last social class in Shakespearean times. Citation:
Singman, Jeffrey L. Daily Life In Elizabethan England. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1995.

Sommerville, J.P. "Social Structure." History Department, Univ. of Wisconsin. Wed. 21. Feb. 2011 <http://history.wise.edu/sommerville/367/367-03.htm.>

Taylor, Christopher W. "Elizabethan Economy." Tennessee State University Faculty Web Area. Web. 23 Feb. 2011. <http://faculty.tnstate.edu/smcurtis/Elizabethan Economy.htm>.

"Elizabethan Knights." Elizabethan era England Life, Facts, Elizabethan Times, FAmous Pirates, Explorers, Costumes, Education, Theatre. Web. 22 Feb. 2011 <http://www.elizabethanenglandlife.com/elizabethan-knights.htm>.

"The People of Elizabethan England." The Lost Colony Performances. Web. 23 Feb. 2011. <http://thelostcolony.org/education/Students/History/Elizabethan_England.htm>.

"Social Class (social Differentiation) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia." Encyclopedia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web. 23 Feb. 2011. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/550940/social-class>.
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