Chapter 9 Lecture Notes

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Political Science
POLI 100
Christopher Erickson

CHAPTER 9 LECTURE NOTES LegislaturesFUNCTIONS OF LEGISLATURESLegislatures are crucial institutions in any political system but above all in democraciesTheir functions can be divided into three basic categories o Representation o Government o Procedural RepresentationOriginally parliaments were purely consultative bodies o Made up of representatives of different classes of society o Consulted by the king prior to the levy of a new tax or the beginning of a new war to see where the people stood o Could not decide policy or impose their will on the monarchGradually they became more assertive o Forum for the addressing of public grievances o Control of state treasuries King cannot spend anything he wantedit had to be approved of parliamentary structures o Control of military levyWho gets to raise an armywhen and how Ultimately there was less power for the king It was a gradual shiftPROBLEMS WITH REPRESENTATIONIn modern legislatures the problem of representation takes two general forms o Are legislators socially representative ie do they accurately reflect the composition of society as a whole o Do they express the views of their constituentsAdditional problemsWhat type of electoral system is usedMost systems eg the UK Canada and the US are based on individual constituencies What is the proper size for such seats
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