PLS 216-230 - Ch. 9 The Congress pg. 216-230 -Constituents-...

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Ch. 9 The Congress pg. 216-230 - Constituents - one of the persons represented by a legislator or other elected or appointed official Why Was Congress Created? The founders of the American republic believed that the bulk of the power that would be exercised by a national govt. should be in the hands of the legislature - Bicameralism - the division of a legislature into two separate assemblies. The bicameralism of Congress was partially the result of the Connecticut Compromise, which tried to balance the large-state population advantage, reflected in the House, & the small-state demand for equality in policymaking, which was satisfied in the Senate. They wished to balance the interests & the numerical superiority of the common citizens with the property interests of the less numerous landowners, bankers, & merchants. The Functions of Congress The bicameral function of Congress was designed to enable the legislative body & its members to perform certain functions for the political system. Functions include: lawmaking, representation, service to constituents, oversight, public education, & conflict resolution. The Lawmaking Function - Lawmaking - the process of establishing the legal rules that govern society; the principle & most obvious function of any legislature. o Congress is the highest elected body in the country, charged with making binding rules for all Americans. o Congress does not initiate most of the ideas, majority of the bills that Congress acts on originate in the executive branch. - Logrolling - an arrangement in which two or more members of Congress agree in advance to support each other’s bills. The Representation Function Representation includes both the representing desires & demands of the constituents in member’s home district or state & representing larger national interests such as farmers or the environment. How should legislators fulfill the representation function? Views: o The Trustee View of Representation- legislators should act as trustees of the entire society. They should vote against the narrow interests of their constituents if their conscience & their perception of national needs so dictate. - Trustees - a legislator who acts according to her or his conscience & the broad interests of the entire society. The Instructed-Delegate View of Representation- Members of the Congress behaves as instructed delegates; they should mirror the views of the majority of the constituents who elected them to power.
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2008 for the course PLS 1-275 taught by Professor Sherrill during the Fall '07 term at Miss. College.

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PLS 216-230 - Ch. 9 The Congress pg. 216-230 -Constituents-...

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