An original, provocative contribution to the debate over rising economic inequality that argues that a strong and sizable middle class is in fact embedded in the very framework of our government and its founding document. For two thousand years, constitutional republics assumed class divisions a priori. But as Ganesh Sitaraman reminds us in this exceptionally lucid study, our Constitution, growing as it did out of a society of almost unprecedented economic equality, made no provisions to prevent the upper class from seizing the levers of power, as other constitutions had. Now that the wealthy are doing just that, Sitaraman argues that Americans face a choice: Do we accept the kind of equal society our founders always assumed we would enjoy, or do we adapt our Constitution to fit the kind of inequality they believed America was an exception to? In deciding that question, he reasons, we should be heartened by the fact that we've taken steps before to reduce inequality and strengthen the middle class, and that we can and should take those steps again.From the Hardcover edition.