The Hidden History of American Oligarchy: Reclaiming Our Democracy from the Ruling Class

The Hidden History of American Oligarchy: Reclaiming Our Democracy from the Ruling Class

by Thom Hartmann
The Hidden History of American Oligarchy: Reclaiming Our Democracy from the Ruling Class

The Hidden History of American Oligarchy: Reclaiming Our Democracy from the Ruling Class

by Thom Hartmann


    Qualifies for Free Shipping
    Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Wednesday, February 28
    Check Availability at Nearby Stores

Related collections and offers


Thom Hartmann, the most popular progressive radio host in America and a New York Times bestselling author, looks at the history of the battle against oligarchy in America—and how we can win the latest round.

Billionaire oligarchs want to own our republic, and they're nearly there thanks to legislation and Supreme Court decisions that they have essentially bought. They put Trump and his political allies into office and support a vast network of think tanks, publications, and social media that every day push our nation closer and closer to police-state tyranny.

The United States was born in a struggle against the oligarchs of the British aristocracy, and ever since then the history of America has been one of dynamic tension between democracy and oligarchy. And much like the shock of the 1929 crash woke America up to glaring inequality and the ongoing theft of democracy by that generation's oligarchs, the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has laid bare how extensively oligarchs have looted our nation's economic system, gutted governmental institutions, and stolen the wealth of the former middle class.

Thom Hartmann traces the history of this struggle against oligarchy from America's founding to the United States' war with the feudal Confederacy to President Franklin Roosevelt's struggle against "economic royalists," who wanted to block the New Deal. In each of those cases, the oligarchs lost the battle. But with increasing right-wing control of the media, unlimited campaign contributions, and a conservative takeover of the judicial system, we're at a crisis point.

Now is the time for action, before we flip into tyranny. We've beaten the oligarchs before, and we can do it again. Hartmann lays out practical measures we can take to break up media monopolies, limit the influence of money in politics, reclaim the wealth stolen over decades by the oligarchy, and build a movement that will return control of America to We the People.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781523091584
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Publication date: 02/02/2021
Series: The Thom Hartmann Hidden History Series , #5
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 173,559
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Thom Hartmann is a four-time winner of the Project Censored Award, a New York Times bestselling author of thirty-two books, and America's #1 progressive talk radio show host. His show is syndicated on local for-profit and nonprofit stations and broadcasts nationwide and worldwide. It is also simulcast on television into nearly 60 million US and Canadian homes.

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Introduction: America Slides into Oligarchy and Dances Close to Tyranny 1

Part 1 The Crisis of Oligarchy 9

Modern Oligarchy Erupts 12

The Presidency: Trumps Playbook 15

A Second American Civil War? 20

Control the Media 24

Controlling Congress (Both Federal and State) 31

Seize the Courts 33

Inevitable Tyranny 36

How Oligrachs Seized the GOP 37

The Oligarchs' Most Successful Con 39

The Crisis 42

Part 2 How Oligarchy Led to the Civil War 47

An Awakened Generation Challenges British Oligarchy 48

Just Idealists, or Is Democracy in Our Genes? 51

Revolutionary Principles: Born Equal 55

Best-Laid Plans for Liberty: Ending American Slavery 57

New Technology, New Oligarchy 61

Where Cotton Is King, Cotton Makes Kings 62

The Oligarchs' War 65

Part 3 How Oligarchs Hung On after the Civil War: Controlling Free Commoners 69

Control and Safety: The Conservatism of Oligarchy 71

Slavery Is Legal in the United States in 2021 74

Through Debt, Oligarchs Can Still Own People 75

Oligarchs Use Medical Debt as an Instrument of Control 78

Oligarchs Control the Commoners through Illiteracy and Student Debt 81

Controlling the Commoners: When All Else Fails, Bring in the Police 86

The Oligarchs' Biggest Threat: An Educated Middle Class with Leisure 90

Part 4 A Third Oligarchy Rises with the Reagan Revolution 93

Oligarchs Use the 14th Amendment to Get Corporate Personhood 94

The Supreme Court Sets Up American Oligarchy 99

"Starve the Beast" and Gut the Republic 103

Holding Power: Buying Friends on Both Sides of the Aisle 107

Part 5 When Oligarchy Becomes Tyranny 111

Lies: The First Step from Oligarchy to Tyranny 113

Tyrants Modify the Very Language of a Culture 114

"Deconstruct the State" 117

Scapegoating to Dilute the Outrage 119

Scapegoating Race, Religion, Gender 120

Normalizing Outrageous Behavior 122

Tyrants Always Corrupt Police 125

A Tyrant's Tool: Obedience 126

Take Militias and Violence Seriously 128

Part 6 Breaking Oligarchy, Restoring Democracy 131

Breaking Oligarchy: The Oligarchs' Media Empire 134

Breaking Oligarchy: A Free Press 135

Breaking Oligarchy: Economic Rights for Everybody 136

Breaking Oligarchy: Tax the Crap Out of the Rich 141

Breaking Oligarchy: Prosecute Trump and His Henchmen under the Hatch Act 144

Breaking Oligarchy: Publicly Funded Elections 145

Breaking Oligarchy: Support the Resistance 147

Breaking Oligarchy: Restore Election Integrity 148

Breaking Oligarchy: Build Progressive Institutions Instead of Just Providing Three-Year Grants 151

Breaking Oligarchy: Help Republicans Reinvent the GOP 152

Breaking Oligarchy: Rebuild a Progressive Democratic Party 153

We Now Know… 155

Notes 158

Acknowledgments 170

Index 172

About the Author 186

From the B&N Reads Blog

Customer Reviews