Front cover image for The voice of the people public opinion and democracy

The voice of the people public opinion and democracy

Evaluating modern democratic practices, this text explains how the voice of the people has struggled to make itself heard in the past. It views changing concepts and practices of democracy, with examples that range from ancient Sparta to America's founders to the first Gallup polls.
Print Book, English, ©1995
Yale University Press, New Haven, ©1995
x, 204 p. ; 24 cm
9780300065565, 9780300072556, 0300065566, 0300072554
Part 1 Introduction: "magic town"; who speaks for me?; out of the cave? Part 2 Who speaks for the people?: new beginnings; a voice from Rhode Island; what should representatives do?; "the most natural and simple idea"; counting people equally ; deliberation - thinking through the issues together; participation; avoiding tyranny - the energy that reforges democracy; small scale democracy; the Founders' vision; the anti-Federalist dissent. Part 3 How "public opinion" became the voice of the people: "like a burglar" - informal processes of reform; Bryce's prophecy - government by public opinion; Gallup's answer; opinions and pseudo-opinions in the echo chamber; a rational public?; a machine that transforms itself. Part 4 Who are the people?: whose declaration of independence?; all men?; from Douglass to Lincoln versus Douglas; from paper rights to voting rights; the quest for voting equality; the declaration of sentiments; whose America?; how do we come to support it? Part 5 Giving the people voice?: the "town" meeting of the air"; towards civic engagement; airing the people's agenda; bringing deliberation to democracy. Appendix: the first deliberative poll - some summary results.