Massachusetts's three traditional 'social estates'

  John Adams, in an 1815 painting by Gilbert Stuart.

John Adams, in an 1815 painting by Gilbert Stuart.

[The Massachusetts constitution] was [John Adams’s] attempt to justify that structure by the traditional notion of social estates - that the executive represented the monarchical estate, the senate the aristocratic estate, and the house of representatives the estate of the people.

— Brown University historian Gordon S. Wood