Traditional Elites in Other Social Categories

September 10, 2012

The upper class is not exclusive in harboring people belonging to the traditional elites. These can also be found in other social categories:

Col. Theodore Roosevelt, commander of the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, also known as the Rough Riders.

a) Descendants of notable figures in military, government, or economic spheres who have promoted the common good of society and etched their moral profiles on a city, region, or the country. In this group figure descendants of officers who commanded troops in war, of distinguished diplomats or politicians, and of entrepreneurs who forged the economic power of the country.

Doña Francesca de Ortega de Brady of San Francisco with her son George T Brady, Jr, in heirloom Spanish costumes, c.1930.

b) Families who have remained faithful to their hereditary past. Also in this category are families who no longer enjoy the status of illustrious ancestors but preserve their memory and maintain customs worthy of their traditions. When, however, a family breaks with its past or ceases to vigorously transmit its spirit to its descendants, it ceases to be part of the traditional elites.

William Howard Taft, pictured with his daughter Helen, a descendant of Robert Taft I, the first Taft in America, who settled in Colonial Massachusetts.

c) Descendants of European nobles who emigrated to the United States and preserved the notion of the dignity proceeding from their ancestors’ deeds and traditions.


Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII: A Theme Illuminating American Social History (York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), Appendix I, p. 316. Editorial comment: —

While belonging to a country’s upper class is a good thing, from the perspective of Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites it is more important to belong to a traditional elite family. Not all traditional elites are members of the upper class, and not all who belong to the latter hail from traditional elite families. Nothingand certainly not wealthcan replace tradition: That vigorous initial thrust given by an ancestor which is cultivated and passed on from generation to generation, being slowly improved upon, distilled as it were.


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