At the height of his fame, Mark Twain schmoozed with robber barons like John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. But he remained sharply critical of the unequal system they presided over.
Devin Thomas O’Shea’s writing has appeared in the Nation, Protean, Current Affairs, Boulevard, and elsewhere.
Heir to the Busch family fortune, Trudy Busch Valentine was once crowned queen of St Louis’s Veiled Prophet Ball, an annual event at which wealthy good old boys made toasts to racism and strikebreaking. Now she wants to join another elite club: the Senate.
In July 1877, workers in St Louis waged a general strike that saw them briefly take the reins of power. Frightened elites compared it to the Paris Commune — and we should celebrate this extraordinary moment of radical democracy today.