This introductory chapter begins with a discussion of events surrounding John Adams' decision to write the Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, which would eventually be hailed as “the finest fruit of the American enlightenment.” It then sets out the book's purpose, which is to present Adams as a student and critic of the political power of elites. It suggests that Adams has much to teach us about teach us about wealth and power in our own times. Specifically, he can help us as we attempt to comprehend and respond to one of today's most urgent problems: the outsized influence of wealth in our politics.
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