Representative Government in the United States: Being the Opening Lecture of the James Stokes Lectureship on Politics, at New York University (Classic Reprint)
It has become the fashion to deplore the failings of our Representative Government. The hopes and anticipations of enthusiastic patriots of one hundred and fifty years ago are compared with the various defects of the system: and, while some remedies are suggested, the objections to them are evident, and we are left in a somewhat hopeless state. When we analyze the views of these pessimists, we extract the admission that democracies of considerable size cannot be governed at all without the representative system, and, therefore, that we must make the best of it, with such modifications as may strengthen its useful operation and restrain it from being misrepresentative of the people's will. Shall we admit that our government is a failure? Shall we admit that, in the one hundred and thirty-five years of its life, it has not had useful operation? That we must do, if we are to admit the premise that representative government is a failure.
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Benjamin Franklin, Self-revealed, a Biographical and Critical Study Based Mainly on his own Writings Volume 2