Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sir William Berkeley and The Ruling Class

Sir William Berkeley (the governor of Virginia in the 1600’s) once stated, “I thank God, there are no free schools, nor printing; and I hope we shall not have these (for a) hundred years, for learning has brought disobedience, and heresy, and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels against the best government. God keep us both!” William had some really strange ideas. It seems Berkeley never quite believed in freedom of thought. He harshly persecuted many people for it. Sir William’s dream for society was totally authoritarian. He wanted everyone in Virginia to know their place. Berkeley believed in an elite, rich, ruling class.

Paul Starr, The Creation of the Media, Pg. 53
Sir William Berkeley Site

In regards to the first paragraph’s quote I believe this is how most of the ruling class felt at around the 1600’s. During the colonial times America was under England’s hand. The ruling class was scared of the idea of people learning to read and to communicate their ideas through the press (and print). A license was required in order to allow for printing in those times. No thinking was needed. Most of the ruling class wanted the government/church to tell the people what was necessary to know.

Antiquarian Booksellers


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