It seems to me that many people would agree with the assertion that the lifestyles and nature of politicians have changed drastically since the Founding. Back then, being a public servant did not involve a lifetime engagement, and was not considered to be extremely glamorous. It was seen as a duty, a temporary calling. However, now it seems (most notably in Congress) that politicians are concerned with extending their service and creating a "legacy" or a name for themselves.
I think you may have an idealized view of the past. To me the interesting thing is that basic politics have hardly changed since the Roman era, except maybe for the rules of engagement.