Immanuel Wallerstein, writing from his noted world-system perspective, argues that the two principal historical myths about the modern world lead us astray. The first myth is that the modern world represents the triumph of the progressive middle class over the aristocracy. Wallerstein counters that the modern world was built by a reconversion of the upper class from landed seigniors to capitalist bourgeois in order to maintain and expand their hold on surplus-value. The second myth, according to Wallerstein, is that the world-economy is the culmination of a slow expansion from urban-manorial economies to national economies to a world-wide economy. The world-economy was actually constructed first and, within its framework, nation-states developed through a process of "densification." Using this analysis, Wallerstein concludes with a brief interpretation of the current "decline" of the United States.