Auteur : Daniel Defoe

Gentleman vs. Tradesman according to Daniel Defoe ( The Complete English Tradesman, 1726)

A Textual Commentary of Daniel Defoe
Letter XXII, The Complete English Tradesman, 1726. Of the Dignity of Trade in England more than in Other Countries

In his letter XXII in The Complete English Tradesman published in 1726, Daniel Defoe tackles the issue of the new wealthy middle class competing with the landed élite for social prestige and political power by highlighting the paradox that while being prominent economic contributors, tradesmen were held in ill repute, and often frowned on by the social élite who despised them. A strong proponent of the -moral and material- virtues of trade, he argues that, on the contrary, tradesmen are worthy and respectable in order to rehabilitate their social status.