Who Rules America?

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In Who Rules America? The Corporate Community and the Upper Class, the author, William Domhoff suggests that the American upper class does not merely exclude other lower social classes from their lives so as to retain their great wealth and power. Instead they have established institutionalized methods of instilling the same values, education and patterned methods of living so that their younger generations will retain the same traditions that older generations have.

Domhoff goes on to say that the majority of wealth and income in the United States has for most of the nineteenth century been held by the top one percent of the nation, where they steadily held onto 36.6 percent of all wealth. Furthermore, in reference to who benefits from this, Domhoff asserts that the upper class is by far the "most powerful group in society" and institutes methods to make sure things remain like this.

In the next portion of the article, Domhoff analyzes the rigorous and exclusive schooling that children of the upper class must go through. He explains that throughout these children's entire life, barely any see the inside of a public school. From their very first day at private pre-school up until high school, these children are instilled with a lifestyle that perpetually reminds them of their high social status. They are particularly trained in aesthetic tastes, vocabulary and values and manners. Domhoff presents an example of the high social consciousness instituted in these schools by outlining the differences between these private institutions and public schools. For example, the principal is known as a headmaster or rector, the teachers are called masters and the students are in forms, not grades. Additionally, the students participate in esoteric sports such as squash and crew and a great deal of emphasis is placed upon character. By the end of their completion of these schools, Domhoff explains that students leave with a feeling of superiority and...
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