Power of the Few sample essay

Get your original paper written from scratch starting at just $10 per page with a plagiarism report and free revisions included!










Hire A Writer

The three articles to be tackled by this essay discuss the presence of a power elite, a term coined by author C. Wright Mills. The articles talk about how the power elite emerged and existed, who comprises it, and evidence to prove why these people are, in fact, the few who hold power in America.

The first article is C. Wright Mills’ The Power Elite wherein he argues that the power of the elite is not derived from their individual attributes but from three societal institutions, specifically the economy, politics, and the military, where power is actually concentrated (332). To support this argument, Mills points out that there are extraordinary men who are heads or are in command of major social structures and are in the position to make decisions that will have great consequences affecting society (332). He goes on to point out that even if these men do not make decisions or act for their institutions, such is actually an influencing act in itself (332). And who are these men who govern the three major institutions of society?

They are “the wealthiest, most celebrated, most powerful…[with] resources of men, women, and money…and mass media focused on them” (336). Mills then presents two points of view regarding the existence of powerful elite: those who do not believe that power elite exists and those who believe that it exists only because historical situations show that decisions are being made but the average and ordinary citizen did not make that decision (333). However, Mills then argues that there are institutions that do in fact unite the decisions made and the historical events that show those decisions (334).

And even if one will argue that society is also ruled by religious, educational and familial institutions, Mills concedes that although these institutions are present and working in society, they are just but the means of the big three[1] to legitimize its power and decisions (334). In fact, Mills argues that if the smaller institutions do not go about the path laid down by the big three, then the big three can always do something to change the structure of smaller institutions so as to fit their plans and decisions (334-335).

In the end, Mills wraps up his article with the conclusion that there are those extraordinary men in the three biggest influential institutions in society that dictate its course and that although they are not solitary rulers (333), it is only through them that power “can be more or less continuous and important” (336). And these men are so powerful that their wills are followed and realized even if others resist it (336).

The second article is Diversity in the Power Elite by Richard Zweigenhaft and G. William Domhoff, wherein the authors concluded that “power elite is more than a set of institutional leaders” (338). The authors attack the view of C. Wright Mills that society is not pluralistic and that it is controlled only by a handful through a research on whether the three major institutional hierarchies have become diversified over the years since Mills’ theory. And the answer is yes. The authors’ research showed that the power elite have been diversified through the presence of more women and minorities (339).

The research further shows that although there is diversity in the powerful, there are many things that have not changed. For one, the core group of the elite is still predominantly Christian white males and many groups that contributed to diversification remain underrepresented (339). Two, “high social origins continue to be a distinct advantage” and those who are able to penetrate the major institutions play the game according to the rules that have been followed since time immemorial (339).

Lastly, the acceptance of diversity was only a result of “pressure from activists and feminists” (339). The article further discussed that although there was diversification in the power elite, the diversity only ends with the gender or race of the person. In fact, diversity strengthened the power elite even more because it “held the same values and perspective as those who are already in power” (340). In the end, diversification did not disprove the existence of the power elite, as enunciated by Mills, but only expanded its membership.

The last article is by Louis Desipio and Rodolfo O. De La Garza entitled Forever Seen as New: Latino Participation in American Elections wherein it proposes that the growing importance of the Latino electorate in American elections is a result, not of Latino mobilization, but of following an Anglo pattern where the more educated and economically advantaged are the ones who vote (346).

The article presents the impediments to a more active Latino electorate: being young, less well-educated, low incomes, and not being American citizens (343, 344). These impediments have been remedied somehow by the emergence of “new cadre Latino elites and new institutions” comprised of young and well-educated Latinos (345). This new cadre exposes Latino issues which enable politicians to address them with more knowledge (345). As a result, although development in Latino participation will be slow, the new cadre will prove to be influential as it is the voice of the Latino community.

With the three articles read and analyzed side by side, the most and key concept is power elite. Mills defines the power elite as the concentration of societal power and influence in a few. It is often comprised of the highly educated and wealthy people who occupy high posts in either the economic, political or military institutions.

The article of Zweigenhaft and Domhoff proves that although there is a move to further diversify the power elite, there is still only a handful who dictate the course of society as the newcomers hardly have proposed major changes, and in fact settle for playing the game the way the power elite has played it ever since. The article of Desipio and De La Garza is not any different since it discusses the concentration of Latino electoral participation in the young and well-educated. At the end of the day, Mills’ concept has expanded but not altered in any way.

With the three readings main theme of power in the few, I was awakened to the possibility that there really might be just a few people who are running our country through the economy, politics, and the military. I realized that family, education and religion are not even major powerhouses but do play some role in putting the power elite in their positions. Those who are wealthy and had the opportunity to graduate from ivy-league and other elite schools are perceived as the people who know a lot and could probably make the right decisions for the country.

As a result of this thinking, they are placed in positions that take the correct actions for their institutions. But I cannot entirely concede that that diversification has not changed anything in the power elite and that the newcomers have not changed anything in society. Gender and racial issues are core agenda in society today although it must be noted that minorities are still that: minorities. It is still the rich, the smart and the popular who are in a state of power and influence. How else can you justify Arnold Schwarchenegger winning the gubernatorial seat?

[1] Economic, political and military institutions

Stay Anonymous
With Our Essay Writing Service

The aim of our service is to provide you with top-class essay help when you ask us to write my paper; we do not collect or share any of your personal data. We use the email you provide us to send you drafts, final papers, and the occasional promotion and discount code, but that’s it!

Order Now