A government composed of fledgling lawmakers

Gordon S. Wood, a professor emeritus of history at Brown, writes at the New York Times to warn the displeased U.S. voters about the dangers of booting out the incumbents.

The article is quite interesting for the elitist conception of “democracy” it presents. The couching of this conception in democratic terms produces unintended irony at several points in the article, such as:

[T]he men who led the revolution against the British crown and created our political institutions were very used to governing themselves.

The author sums his message in the last sentence of the article:

[P]recisely because we are such a rambunctious and democratic people, as the framers of 1787 appreciated, we have learned that a government made up of rotating amateurs cannot maintain the steadiness and continuity that our expansive Republic requires.

2 Responses

  1. Pretty fantastic statement.

    You don’t happen to have some comparisons of parliamentary rotation in modern democracies?


  2. Do you mean the data about average tenure in parliaments? I don’t have international data. Reelection rates for the US are very high, and US Senator tenure has been climbing steadily throughout the history of the chamber.


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