Friday, July 22, 2011

Abigail Adams on Congress

I am reading First Family by Joseph Ellis (slowly, but enjoying it...I just get distracted a lot!) and this part, on Abigail's opinion of the Senate had me laughing today and so had to share!
Abigail found the debates [on the Residence Act], some of which she witnessed from the Senate gallery, extremely offensive because of the blatantly partisan atmosphere and the wholly argumentative context of the legislative process. "The more I see of Mankind," she lamented, "the more sick I am of publick life, and the less worthy do they appear to me." She thought it was a mistake to open the Senate gallery to the public, since ordinary citizens would now see that making laws was like making sausage: not a pretty sight, and not a scene likely to inspire confidence in the new government. So much for John's idealistic vision of the Senate as the arena for America's virtuous elite.
According to the endnotes, this is from AA to Cotton Tufts, March 1790

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