Ch12 Study Outline

Ch12 Study Outline - Chapter 12 Chapter Review Congress:...

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Chapter 12 Chapter Review Congress: Representing the American People Congress is the most important representative institution in American government, yet Americans’ mistrust of Congress has grown stronger at the same time society’s access to Congress has increased. “Sunshine reforms” of the 1270s dramatically opened an entrance to Congress, yet the growing influence of money in politics may make Congress more responsive to higher income voters and resource-rich interest groups. I. How does Congress represent the United States as a whole? In what ways is it not representative? The task of representation is not a simple one. Views about what constitutes fair and effective representation differ, and constituents can make very different kinds of demands on their representatives. The framers of the Constitution provided for a bicameral legislature with House and Senate to serve different constituencies. The Senate, originally chosen by the state legislatures and serving six-year terms, was to represent the elite members of society. The House, always elected by the voters in congressional districts and serving two-year terms, was to represent the people or well-organized local interests. Institutional rules and procedures make the Senate the more deliberative of the two chambers. There are two circumstances under which a person reasonably might be trusted to speak for another—sociological representation and agency representation. o Women and minorities are significantly under-represented in Congress, while wealthy white men are over-represented. o Since the Congress does not reflect the social composition of the United States, we must rely on agency representation to ensure that members of Congress will speak for the individuals they represent. II. In what specific ways do members of Congress act as agents for their constituencies? Members of Congress work hard to represent their constituent interests, and party leaders do not ask any member to vote in a way that would conflict with district interest. Members of Congress act as agents for their constituents through case work or constituent services
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This note was uploaded on 01/13/2011 for the course POLS 2302 taught by Professor Pen during the Spring '10 term at Lamar University.

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Ch12 Study Outline - Chapter 12 Chapter Review Congress:...

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