[Volume 1, Page 366]
CHAPTER 12|Document 14
John Adams, Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States1787Works 4:290--91
The rich, the well-born, and the able, acquire an influence among the people that will soon be too much for simple honesty and plain sense, in a house of representatives. The most illustrious of them must, therefore, be separated from the mass, and placed by themselves in a senate; this [Volume 1, Page 367] is, to all honest and useful intents, an ostracism. A member of a senate, of immense wealth, the most respected birth, and transcendent abilities, has no influence in the nation, in comparison of what he would have in a single representative assembly. When a senate exists, the most powerful man in the state may be safely admitted into the house of representatives, because the people have it in their power to remove him into the senate as soon as his influence becomes dangerous. The senate becomes the great object of ambition; and the richest and the most sagacious wish to merit an advancement to it by services to the public in the house. When he has obtained the object of his wishes, you may still hope for the benefits of his exertions, without dreading his passions; for the executive power being in other hands, he has lost much of his influence with the people, and can govern very few votes more than his own among the senators.
The Works of John Adams. Edited by Charles Francis Adams. 10 vols. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1850--56. See also: Butterfield; Cappon; Warren-Adams Letters
© 1987 by The University of Chicago