"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
—Declaration of Independence, 1776
When residents of the British colonies in America penned these words, there was probably no notion of a middle class. More than half a century later, the French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville visited this country and wrote about his observations in “Democracy in America.” In this classic work, he declared that America was a “classless” society (probably because we had no nobility).
A century later, after doing several community studies and finding various levels of social class depending on the part of the country that was under analysis, W. Lloyd Warner and his associates decided on six broad descriptions of social class: two upper classes, two middle classes, and two lower classes.
Although estimates vary widely, somewhere between 74 and 78 percent of Americans fall into the upper-middle class, lower-middle class, and upper-lower class. The latter, owing to political correctness, is now called the working class, and it is by far the largest class in this country. In addition, at least 20 percent have been stuck in the lower-lower class for so long that membership in this stratum seems to be hereditary...