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The gentleman planters of that era saw themselves as intellectual bulwarks against base urges of the common man. Thomas Jefferson is the archetypal gentleman planter (with all the good and bad that entails, e.g. education and slavery).

Don't forgot it was common at this time to buy booze for those that supported you in an election. The gentry that created the framework for the government were well aware that they needed to protect the common man from himself most of all, let alone the tyranny of another dictator.

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