11 Surprising Anti-Democracy Quotes From America's Founding Fathers
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.
- Photo: Mather Brown / WikiMedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.01350 VOTES
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."
- 2269 VOTES
Elbridge Gerry Believed That Democracy Flooded The Country With Evil
During a 1787 debate, Elbridge Gerry argued that democracy allowed self-interested and malicious men to mislead the masses under the guise of patriotism. He noted:
"The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue, but are the dupes of pretended patriots."
- Photo: Gilbert Stuart / WIkiMedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.03268 VOTES
John Adams Thought Democracy Would Destroy The Country
Even though he completed hs service as the second US president in 1801, John Adams always had a lot to say about democracy. In an 1814 letter to John Taylor, Adams bashed what he believed was a flawed structure. He wrote:
"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.
- Photo: Charles Willson Peale / WikiMedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.04185 VOTES
Benjamin Rush Thought Democracy Was Devilish
As the debate over democracy raged among the founding fathers, writer and doctor Benjamin Rush, argued that democracy was, in fact, evil. He believed that democratic men would do anything to get what they desired; corruption and greed ruled them. Rush noted:
"A simple democracy is the devil's own government."
- 5197 VOTES
George Washington Believed That Democracy Led People To Make Bad, Emotional Decisions
In a 1786 letter to the Marquis De Lafayette, George Washington wrote about the risks of democracy; he didn't believe that most people could be trusted to make good decisions. Washington acknowledged that the newly formed Constitution still needed work, suggesting that:
"It is one of the evils of democratical governments, that the people, not always seeing and frequently misled, must often feel before they can act right; but then evil of this nature seldom fail to work their own cure."
- Photo: Unknown / WikiMedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.06147 VOTES
Fisher Ames Compared Democracy To A Fiery Volcano
Fisher Ames was not a fan of democracy. He believed it was an incredibly dangerous form of government that could give way to precarious factions. The ancient civilizations that tried democracy centuries earlier all crumbled and Ames wanted to avoid that. He said:
"A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and carry desolation in their way."