A very interesting story, Helena Sophia Exel, and I understand how complex what Son of Baldwin was writing would be for you to deal with. There are many perspectives from which to look at the transformation of our social structure. As I’ve said in other places, one of those perspectives is the unique problem that the US faces as a result of historical changes. Your contention that caste (of kast) is an unstated assumption results from that. I’ll be a bit picky in defining this not as caste, or even race, because those were very minor issues in America in the late 18th century. Class was very much an issue and is a major part of this country’s problems because of that. I feel a fit of historical writing coming on here but I will try to contain myself . . .
It may be that the historical decline of kingdoms, empires, and states is partially, at least, the result of too many skeletons in the closet. The social structural reality becomes too complex as people have to step over too many dead bodies while pretending not to see them. It gets to the point that you can’t move without having to disentangle yourself from great piles of invisible bones.
The other part of this are the historical changes that make once good ideas into very bad ideas. A healthy society (socio-political unit) acknowledges this stuff with discomfort but with honesty. Just as we all must do at times with a, “My bad, i screwed up . . .” and a chagrined shake of the head whenever this issue comes up after that. An unhealthy society proceeds to bury everything and deny any responsibility. Perhaps that causes the inevitable piles of bones to reach critical mass ultimately overwhelming the society. If so, that’s where we are.
I think that this may be what you are describing. Class was very much an issue in the colonies as England and Europe were aristocracies. It was a very close thing that this country did not elevate the founding fathers to aristocratic status. When you look at their landed estates and slaves its obvious what they were. Fortunately they were also very much aware of the changing paradigm in their time (Enlightenment as we call it now) which sought to replace aristocracy with a natural order citizenship that was much more egalitarian. Ah, but there is a rub, as you say.
They were not egalitarian and they very much assumed that class was a reality and the lower classes were only potentially citizens if they could become landowners. Obviously they didn’t address race at all except after the revolution and in the pragmatic world of international relations and the North Africa pirate states. But class was buried along with the indigenous population. The Amerindian states of North America were decimated by European disease in the 1500s and by the time of the colonies villages and farm lands were ready for settlement as all of the people had died. Roughly 90% of the population died in those decades and the remainder were weak and exhausted so they could easily be killed or ignored. This is another distortion that explains the strange problem of race and class in America.
Culturally and politically the people of the US have never come to terms with race and have never admitted that the political structure has been stretched so far to include irreconcilable elements that could not be identified because they were class based. Because of this our formal, two political parties only represent the aristocracy and owners. One of the parties was always supposed to pick up the small farmers (yeomen) but when those disappeared the Democratic Party tried to add industrial workers but that was always tentative because they didn’t act like small farmers who could identify many common elements with the landed gentry (boots, fields, and animals). And then the industrial workers went away.
In short, the whole structure is failing because it was predicated on an un-aristocratic landed gentry ruling in partnership with small farmers all of the same race because everyone else but slaves had died. Hence women and other races were not considered. The existing two party system was locked into place in the trauma of the civil war that ended up shoving all of the skeletons into the closet and making both race and class things that did not exist for over one hundred years. So here we are unable to deal with things because it requires a complete change in attitude on race because diversity is part of the new concept of value (intellectual) and class because that needs to be disconnected from livelihood and wage slavery. But if you don’t admit to any of that how do you talk about it?