Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 6, 2009


I suppose that every man who has looked on at the game has been struck by the remarkable way in which politics deteriorate the moral tone of everyone who mixes in them. The deterioration is far more marked than in any other occupation I know, except the turf, stock-jobbing , and gambling. I imagine the reasn in each case to be the same. It is the curse of politics that what one man gains, another man loses. On such conditions you can create not even an average morality. Politicians as a class must be as mean as card-sharpers, turf-men, or Wall Street curb-stone operators. There is no respectable induStry in existence which will not average a higher morality. - Henry Adams, in an 1881 letter to henry Cabor Lodge who had just lost election to the Massachusetts State Senate


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