The American fairytale is far from enchanted. Power and wealth are concentrated in an anxious aristocracy, comprised of 10% of the population, that reigns by dividing the lower classes and pitting them against each other so that the poor turn against the poor. It’s how most aristocracies throughout history have worked. It’s also how the American elite convinced 25 million non-slaveholding citizens to aid and abet them in slavery. Can America ever live up to its promise of a government by and for the people? Read Matthew Stewart's cover story on The Atlantic.