About Democracy’s Friends
Cover of 42.1
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How to Cite

About Democracy’s Friends: Some Comments on Luke Mayville’s John Adams and the Fear of American Oligarchy. (2018). The Political Science Reviewer, 42(1), 298-304. https://politicalsciencereviewer.wisc.edu/index.php/psr/article/view/573


John Adams and the Fear of American Oligarchy.
By Luke Mayville. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016.
232p $29.95 hardcover.

Luke Mayville has written a terrific book, a history of political ideas that makes a reader reflect upon issues exquisitely theoretical yet also timely, such as the plebiscitary transformation of democracy, the expanding role of oligarchy, the self-referential character of elected representatives, and the unstoppable growth of socioeconomic inequality. These problems are enormously serious and directly affect our democratic societies. While the commentators on this panel focus mostly on issues related to the history of political thought, I would like to try to read Mayville’s book as a contribution to political theory that helps us to see John Adams as an inspiring author whose intuitions are perhaps closer to our own than they were to his American contemporaries.

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