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Evading Questions of Principle – “Democracy, an American novel” – Henry Adams

July 17th, 2011 · No Comments · Extremism, Ideology, Means and Ends, Politics, US Politics

The beauty of his work consisted in the skill with which he evaded questions of principle. As he wisely said, the issue now involved was not one of principle but of power. The fate of that noble party to which they all belonged, and which had a record that could never be forgotten, depended on their letting principle alone. Their principle must be the want of principles. There were indeed individuals who said in reply that Ratcliffe had made promises which never could be carried out, and there were almost superhuman elements of discord in the combination, but as Ratcliffe shrewdly rejoined, he only wanted it to last a week, and he guessed his promises would hold it up for that time.

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