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In the time of the early republic, with its rejection of the monarchy and hereditary wealth still fresh on its mind, Noah Webster articulated the prevailing republican sentiment when he said that the very soul of a republicwas the fair and equitable distribution of land. The most striking aspect of the “Old World”—namely, Europe—was the deep division between the landed rich minority and the landless poor majority, which could and did lead to the collapse of the whole system—for example, in France. Most revolutionaries strove to avoid at all costs the development of an aristocracy in the U.S., especially on the backs of the hapless poor. It is ironic that slaves were left out of the equation, though some did see the paradox.
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