Two major traditions of belief, democracy and capitalism, have dominated American public life from its inception. Although they have not always coexisted in perfect harmony – indeed their union has often been torn by conflict – they have managed to accommodate to each other with sufficient flexibility to have forged a viable political culture.
* Survey Research Center, University of California, Berkeley. This article is drawn from material prepared for the Twentieth Century Fund for a work by Herbert McClosky and John Zaller, The American Ethos: Public Support for Capitalism and Democracy. The authors are greatly indebted to the Gallup Organization (Princeton, New Jersey) for assistance in the administration of the surveys discussed in this paper, and also indebted to Christopher Achen and J. Merrill Shanks for invaluable advice and criticism on problems of research procedure and analysis, to Mark Westlye, Eric Smith, Larry Bartels and Debra Zaller for other helpful criticisms, and to Roberta Friedman and Carol McKevitt for preparation of the manuscript.