The 'Occupy Wall Street' protesters aren't extremists on the fringe. They reflect the frustrations of large swaths of American society. By taking aim at corporate greed and corruption, they embody a venerable tradition of American populism with roots back to Jefferson.
From 'tea party' protesters to antiwar advocates, Americans on all sides of the political spectrum seem angry about something. But for all the tumult, the disaffection today is far less than in many periods in the past.