UMBC POLI 100 - CONGRESS AS A REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY (14 pages)

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CONGRESS AS A REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY



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CONGRESS AS A REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY

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Pages:
14
School:
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Course:
Poli 100 - American Government and Politics

Unformatted text preview:

CONGRESS AS A REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY THE CONCEPT OF REPRESENTATION Topic 20 Congress The First Branch of Government Congress is both a representative and legislative assembly How and how well does Congress do its job of lawmaking How and how well does Congress especially the House of Representatives stack up as a representative body A more fundamental question is What do we mean by representation This is a major question in both traditional political theory and modern political science We need to distinguish among different types and styles of representation National vs Local Representation National representation how well does the House of Representatives or Congress as a whole represent the American people as a whole Local representation how well do individual Representatives or Senators represent the people in their particular constituencies i e their districts or states Note In some countries the national parliament is elected by the people of the national as a whole using a system of proportional representation This provides very good representation of a particular type at the national level but may provide no local representation In contrast English speaking countries typically use single member districts SMDs to elect representatives Descriptive Representation Representation as similarity X represents Y means X looks like Y President Clinton famously said he wanted a Cabinet that looks like the American people Descriptive representation at the national level is Congress especially the House or Representatives a representative cross section of the American people Demographic characteristics Gender Race Religion Age Education Occupation Descriptive Representation cont Representative cross section cont Personal characteristics and background Political interest Political background Personality types Experiential characteristics Leading typical work home lives Experiencing life as most people experience it 19th century republican ideal rotation in office 20th



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