Adams’ assumption that a respectable government is not possible in a democracy underlies the entire book and culminates with Mrs. Lee and Senator Ratcliffe’s conversation about government corruption. Mrs. Lee asks, “Is a respectable government impossible in a democracy?” Senator Ratcliffe replies, “That no representative government can long be much better or much worse than the society it represents. Purify society and you purify government. But try to purify the government artificially and you only aggravate failure” (Adams 42). Speaking through Senator Rafcliffe, Adams is saying that representative governments not only represent the political views of the people, but also reflect society’s morals. Adams adds to this point with the views of the corrupt and cynical Bulgarian minister, Baron Jacobi. In reply to Senator Rafcliffe’s statement, Baron Jacobi declares that among the nations, the United States has elements of ...
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...oy a person’s morals and make politics a risky venture for anyone. Mrs. Lee discovered this when she realized that by believing that Ratcliffe was truly honest and working for the public good, she began to lose sight of right and wrong as well. Perhaps, Adams presents the best solution with the ending of his book; Mrs. Lee leaves Washington, its intrigues, corruption, and people. She ventures to Egypt to recover and regain her sense of right and wrong. In conclusion, if politicians could step away from politics for a while, perhaps they too might regain their sense of ethics and morality.
Adams, Henry. Democracy An American Novel. New York: Random House Inc., 2003. N. pag. Print.
Martin, Gary. The meaning and origin of the expression: Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Ed. Gary Martin. The Phrase Finder, 1996. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
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