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p. 605. Representationlocked

  • David J. Bodenhamer


More than most constitutional issues, questions of representation and suffrage have exposed the fault lines of class, race, and gender in American society. Popular sovereignty was the touchstone of republican liberty, but only grudgingly did rulers admit the ruled into their circle. The world-view of the framers had no room for women, blacks, Indians, or the poor as citizens worthy of the ballot. It took a series of constitutional amendments, all spurred by war or mass movements, to expand the electorate and redefine “we the people” to include all adult citizens as rulers. ‘Representation’ describes the various Amendments to the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that have reshaped what representation means.

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