It is currently understood that gravity is not actually a force, and a fact that is often used to show this is that an object in free fall doesn't "feel" that it is accelerating and is thus an inertial frame.
However, it seems to me that Newtonian mechanics can already predict that this will be the case. Since all the parts of the object are being accelerated by the same amount simultaneously (at least approximately, like near the surface of the Earth) there won't be a tendency for this object to contract, and thus "feel" that it is accelerating. This isn't the case, for example, when I push the same object. In my understanding, the force needs to be communicated from the point I apply it to all the rest of the object, and this delay is the cause of a contraction/increase in internal forces or tension, allowing it to effectively "feel" that is accelerating.
Now, suppose that there is a uniform field that accelerates any particles with constant acceleration. Like gravity, a free object in this field will not be able to detect that it is accelerating, since all of its particles are accelerating equally at the same time. My question is: Is this object inertial, or is it only inertial if this field is a gravitational one?