The Yankee is a product of nineteenth-century America and detests the unfairness inherent in sixth-century institutions of inherited rank and social stratification. He blames the Catholic Church for providing justifications for social inequality, and he wants to destroy the Church's potential for abuse by breaking it into separate sects that people could join at will. The Yankee is an idealist and believes firmly in the power of technology to improve people's lives and bring about positive social change. In the end, though, as R. L. Fisher observes, the book loses its idealistic tone, and the promise of technology falls short of the Yankee's lofty goals: "For while it mocks the British monarchy, it also makes a mockery of Hank Morgan's hope that technology might further the moral improvement of humanity."

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