American Studies postdoctoral research scholar Luke Mayville recently published an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer. In it, Mayville discusses why John Adams thought concentrated wealth was the biggest threat to democracy. While many conservative thinkers today focus on the Founding Fathers' fear of the tyranny of the masses, Mayville points out that Adams actually feared oligarchy more than populism.
For Adams, the concentration of wealth gave rich Americans control over important social networks while also disproportionately augmenting their political capital as "job creators." Read Mayville's op-ed to see what our Founding Father's ideas have to do with House of Cards, the Great Depression, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.