Social life in colonial Rhode Island was as complicated and diverse as social life today. One's social mobility and freedom was dictated by class and wealth, as well as religion.
Lower-class colonists were restricted to professions subordinate to skilled tradesmen in the middle class. Therefore, the level of education for the lower class was severely circumscribed.
Middle-class colonists had more freedoms, such as the ability to hold public office and vote. These colonists worked as the professionals who employed or apprenticed the lower class colonists.
The upper-class colonists maintained their wealth through trading, investment and management of the government. Their dominance of public office led to their ability to maintain their wealth.