This power has been absurdly represented as intended to abolish all the county courts in the several States, which are commonly called inferior
Amid the cautions that they keep good company, for example, a number of authors specifically advised them to choose companions from among social equals rather than superiors or inferiors. The author of The Polite Lady claimed: "Without this equality, there may, indeed, be a kind of acquaintance, but there can be no intimacy or familiarity, and, of consequence, no friendship."(57) Only works that addressed the middling sort advised against a servile demeanor before others.
Revolutionary-era conduct writers did not waste much ink on the subject of proper behavior with inferiors, and their advice to the different classes on this issue was similar in both content and quantity.
The new advice to the middling sort tended to be interspersed with more traditional advice regarding inferiors, advice that reminds us of the limits of revolutionary-era levelling.
By contrast, upper-class characters display shortcomings that require their inferiors to teach them "una lezione di comportamento e di civilta" (36).
Like Forni, he also notes that Boccaccio does not invariably present authority figures as blameless; indeed, even in this early work, Boccaccio sets social inferiors to giving lessons in nobility of soul to their betters (48).
Of interest too is the fact that, by choosing lovers of inferior social status, the daughters and wives of the tales invert the abstract social rules that define males as their masters and superiors.
Strangers might not only be demeaning social inferiors; their uncertain moral character - perhaps repulsive or, worse, tempting - was a danger to the respectable in a way that associations with social inferiors alone were not.(11)
Until the 1930s, whole groups or classes were outspokenly deemed unacceptable as people to associate with, and some etiquette books still contained separate sections on 'good behaviour' toward social superiors and inferiors. Later, these sections disappeared.
Most rules in this period referred to relations between superiors and inferiors. For ordinary people much less emphasis was placed on proper behavior with equals.
The few good diaries from this period, those of magistrates and ministers, show that these men were constantly on the lookout for signs of deference from their inferiors, and when such were not forthcoming, they made considerable noise about it.(16) The ministers urged parents to teach their children proper deference behavior because they believed that the family hierarchy was society in microcosm.
Split the class into "greens" and "blues," citing one as inferior
. In a controversial classroom experiment some 20 years ago, this "segregation" went on for days, with "inferiors
" and "superiors" switching places.