Politically, Adams was a paradox.
He was an unrepentant pessimist on mankind and its greatest defender. He rejected the Divine Kings of the continent and also rejected the desire of the southern states to create a radical system of democracy (white men only with land of course)
He was accused of being a monarchist by his opposition and was accused of being too liberal by his own party. His theory on government was essentially that the lower house gives the appearance of freedom and choice to the common people while the senate/upper house keeps the aristocrats honest and by putting checks and balances on them, prevents them from being oligarchs. (similar to the system of ostracization in ancient Greece) The president tries to strike a balance between the two competing forces of populism and aristocracy and steer the ship of state on a safe path.
On top of it all, Adams did not believe as Jefferson that America was completely new and different than the old world and that if careful limitations on either the power of the people or the power of the emerging aristocrats were not put in place, the young country would not survive. Late in his life, as tensions were rising between the North and the South, Adams must surely have felt a smug sense of satisfaction.
Adams felt that through discipline and study- he could help humanity rise above the passions that had been tearing it apart for so long.