I encountered an ambiguous sentence while reading a passage of TOEFL IBT. I really did not grasp the following sentence:
"The democrats tended to view society as a continuing conflict between “the people”-farmers,planters, and workers-and a set of greedy aristocrats. This "paper money aristocracy " of bankers and investors manipulated the banking system for their own profit,Democrats claimed and sapped the nation’s virtue by encouraging speculation and the desire for sudden ,unearned wealth.
I will appreciate if you help me.
In the writer’s view, the members of the Democratic party saw society as a struggle between
themselves (the aristocrats, comprising people on a high income like bankers, lawyers, investors, etc.)
and common people (‘the people’, comprising people on a lower income like farmers, planters, factory workers, etc.)
The writer labels the aristocrats as a ‘paper money aristocracy’ because of their over-rising concern for high levels of wealth. He says such people organised the banking system so that they gained even more profit from it.
He says that democrats valued speculation and risk taking in order to make a lot of money quickly much higher than they valued hard work, commitment and steady growth through good business practices. In doing so, they took away the ‘nation’s virtue’ (the ideals of hard work and commitment, etc.)
Thanks Beeesneees for you help.