I'm looking for a quote from a founding father about leaving government
May 10, 2013 10:01 PM   Subscribe

I remember reading something, somewhere from one of the founding fathers about the original intent of legislators to NOT be a political class. To serve a term or two and go home so that people from outside could contribute and people inside didn't get too jaded. Though maybe I'm adding a lot of subtext. Is there anything from any of the FF's on this that rings a bell? Do you have a quote or two?
posted by rileyray3000 to Law & Government (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Are you perhaps thinking of Federalist #52, written by James Madison, from the Federalist Papers?

I'm thinking of the passage that begins:

As it is essential to liberty that the government in general should have a common interest with the people, so it is particularly essential that the branch of it under consideration should have an immediate dependence on, and an intimate sympathy with, the people. Frequent elections are unquestionably the only policy by which this dependence and sympathy can be effectually secured. But what particular degree of frequency may be absolutely necessary for the purpose, does not appear to be susceptible of any precise calculation, and must depend on a variety of circumstances with which it may be connected. Let us consult experience, the guide that ought always to be followed whenever it can be found.

Madison continues the topic in #53 and #54, if it's not in #52.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 10:23 PM on May 10, 2013

"I proposed the representatives (and not the people) should choose the [State] Senate... To make them independent I had proposed that they should hold their places for nine years and then go out (one third every three years) and be incapable forever of being re-elected to that house. My idea was that if they might be re-elected, they would be casting their eye forward to the period of election (however distant) and be currying favor with the electors and consequently dependent on them. My reason for fixing them in office for a term of years rather than for life was that they might have an idea that they were at a certain period to return into the mass of the people and become the governed instead of the governor, which might still keep alive that regard to the public good that otherwise they might perhaps be induced by their independence to forget." -- Thomas Jefferson to E. Pendleton, 1776.
posted by John Cohen at 10:27 PM on May 10, 2013 [6 favorites]

You might take a look at George Washington's Farewell Address, where he discusses both his own self-imposed term limit and the danger of political parties.
posted by brina at 12:33 PM on May 11, 2013

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