The Usonian contribution to the democratic project was to reconceive the citizen as a yeoman farmer. Smallholding and the capacity to subsist enabled independence in thought and action. In Europe the self-sufficient and skilled yeoman (a farmer and hunter) was already considered to be a moral actor; Robin Hood was one. To Jefferson, the yeoman’s material autonomy promised virtue. The Usonian’s individual morality combined with the collective power of peers as voters ought to constrain corruption and elitism.

Usonian is an alternate term for US American, coined by James Duff Law in 1903, and popularized by Frank Lloyd Wright.