Many American citizens struggle to determine whether they love or loathe the politics of their home country. And interestingly enough, certain founding fathers struggled to decide that as well. Some founding fathers seemed to be incredibly pro-democracy while others favored a voting republic.
Based on some of the anti-democracy quotes from founding fathers like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams it's entirely possibly that those politicians didn't know exactly what their new nation needed. Arguably smart men, these former presidents may have been as wishy-washy as more recent US heads of state.
John Adams Thought Democracy Would Lead To Anarchy
In an 1807 essay, John Adams cautioned about the aspirations of men. According to Adams, democracy allowed men to satiate their base and unjust desires at the expense of the masses. He didn't believe the government could control men that had already been corrupted, suggesting that:
"Democracy, will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes, and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure and every one of these will soon mold itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues, and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few."
Elbridge Gerry Believed That Democracy Flooded The Country With Evil
"The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue, but are the dupes of pretended patriots."
Alexander Hamilton Warned That Democracy Could Lead To Another Monarchy
Alexander Hamilton knew that establishing a democracy would be difficult, especially if offices were only open to men of a certain wealth or status. During a debate in 1787, Hamilton cautioned that a constitutional class would lead back to an aristocracy and royal reign. Colonists had already rebelled against that. Hamilton acknowledged their fears, saying:
"If we incline too much to democracy, we shall soon shoot into a monarchy."
John Jay Thought Religion Could Make Democracy Better
First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Jay thought democracy would be okay as long as it was regulated. He suggested that democracy could give unwarranted opportunities to greedy men, however. According to him, morality and religious belief could keep democracy in check. Jay mentioned:
"Too many... love pure democracy dearly. They seem not to consider that pure democracy, like pure rum, easily produces intoxication, and with it a thousand mad pranks and fooleries.”