The American founders were distrustful of the masses and concerned about controlling their political influence. Might the greater threat, however, emanate not from the “have-nots” but from the “haves”–as symbolized by our cover photo of the fabulously wealthy J. P. Morgan being restrained by a peace officer while angrily swinging his cane at one of his social lessers? In the lead article in this issue, “Contain the Wealthy and Patrol the Magistrates: Restoring Elite Accountability to Popular Government,” John P. McCormick argues that the long-standing preoccupation with controlling the masses is misdirected. Looking beyond the American founders to ancient constitutions for guidance about present-day problems, McCormick provides a typology of measures meant to curb undue elite influence. Along the way, he offers evidence that modern republics are in far greater danger from the excessive influence of political and economic elites than from the discontents and passions of the masses. This is important food for thought for all, regardless of one's bank balance.
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