Hello! If you are a regular subscriber to this blog, you know that I have been on sabbatical this year and that my posts have been few and far between. I am looking forward to interacting with you regularly come autumn, but for now I am trying to make as much progress as I can on a book on the rise of American democracy, tentatively titled “We the Fallen People.”
I did come across a passage in my reading today that seemed timely, however, and I couldn’t help sharing it. I spent a glorious morning at nearby forest preserve, and as I sat in the sun on one of my favorite benches, I encountered this from our nation’s second president, John Adams. The date was January 8, 1776, and Adams, at the time a member of the Second Continental Congress, was writing to Mrs. Mercy Otis Warren, the sister and wife of distinguished patriot leaders and an accomplished political writer in her own right. In context, Adams was sharing his preference for a republic over a monarchy, as well as his doubts whether Americans possessed sufficient virtue for a republic to survive. Listen to his conclusion:
It is the Part of a great Politician to make the Character of his People; to extinguish among them, the Follies and Vices that he sees, and to create in them the Virtues and Abilities which he sees wanting. I wish I was sure that America has one such Politician, but I fear she has not.
As timely in 2016 as in 1776.