Lead: The England that sent out the first colonists on the Virginia Adventure in 1607 still very much saw itself as a part of The Great Chain of Being, a society ordered top to bottom from God to dirt. Virginia helped break the chain.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: In the 1700s European writers spoke of a Great Chain of Being, an idea which had been around at least since Greek civilization and which described the universe as a hierarchy with God at the top, in His heaven and all creation, in perfectly ordered ranks descending down, down, down to inanimate stones. This world view emerged from the military requirements and feudal realities of the medieval period and was ideally created to bring order out of chaos. Even by 1600 most Englishmen, obsessed with regulation and stability, thought they fit somewhere in that comfortable arrangement. The higher one’s station or status in society, the closer one was to God, thereby meriting deference and respect. The King was higher than nobles, masters over servants, husbands over wives, men over women and so on. Wherever one fit on the chain was his or her allotted place in life and they should be content in there in their place. If, by some good fortune, either, financial, military or political, one moved up the chain, then it was a clear sign of God’s favor and blessing.

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