Democratic Representation

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Eugene Markov-Tolpyigin 12/10/07

POL 1101

Professor DeMaio

America is the land of democracy. It is believed that we follow democratic values. Democracy is the concept of everyone voting for someone to achieve power. The basic ideas of democracy are present in today's government. However, there are several different types. Representative and direct are most commonly associated with democracy. America was established on the basis of direct democracy, the belief that citizens choose en masse what they want. The best example would be the New England Town Meeting where anyone from the town who wanted to show up to debate and vote on town policy could do so. Currently, representative democracy is the standard. Each individual citizen may not have a voice, but their judgments are expressed by those they elect. Additionally, the rights of the minority are protected from tyranny of majority

There are two types of representation; descriptive and substantive.

The difference is how the constituents are represented. The descriptive representation is based on characteristics of the legislators proportionally reflecting those of the population being represented. This theory of representation is based on a belief that only a representative similar to the constituent can understand the concerns of that constituent. Many also believe that some policy issues are related to certain demographics, and therefore will not be adequately addressed unless individuals from those groups are involved in policy making. Some of the demographic groups under consideration for representation can be as limited as just gender and race or as inclusive as gender, race, education, marital status, number of children, occupation, and religion.

This was not the case during the beginning of democracy in America. The people elected were mostly middle-ages, white protestant lawyers. They physically represented very little of the population. However their views on issues were hopefully representative...