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Lecture 7

POLS 1000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Levellers

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 1000
Martin Breaugh

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POLS 1000 - Tutorial 7
Readings: Triumph of Election: Consenting to Power Rather Than Holding Office p.79-93
Election vs. Lot
The lot system is unpractical due to the size of the population, incompetence,
That idea that first springs to mind” – the general mind of others therefore this is not his
One can also argue” – someone can also argue…therefore not his standpoint either
He’s laying out the common arguments.
o Objective conditions favor the lot system
Objective external
Subjective perspective
Gueniffey makes three arguments: small communities, simple political functions, and equality of
circumstances (homogeneity).
Obscure conceal/ignore
Contingency choice/accident/not inevitable, dependant on
“Such comments contain grains of truth, but they are defective in that they obscure the
o It is not inevitable that elections would have won over lot. How did it come to be that
elections won over lot?
Lot was not totally impracticable”
o Believes that the lot system is a practical system that could be used in the present day.
o Size could not be used as an excuse because they are not that many people that we
believe in our heads there are
o Lots could have been drawn in small districts.
o If size is a problem, you don’t have to do it at a country-wide level, you can do it at small
county levels.
“There was indeed one notion in the light of which…
o The notion of consent that emerged and favored the electoral system.
o What does it mean to consent?
Consenting to government means consenting to the laws in which they choose to
pass or enforce upon us.
Consent can be a form of agreement
Conditions that would make consent more sincere
“if you want the job you have to sign the contract
Choice is an important part of consent
When voting you are giving consent to be governed.
Consenting to the method of selection by going to vote.
o Is it a meaningful/substantial consent?
Low voter turn-out means people don’t feel like they really have a choice.
Concept of Consent in The Three Revolutions
o French consented to by the ruled; wanted a constitutional monarchy
o America taxation without representation
o English grandees vs. levelers both wanted consent because they were against the
monarchy, but grandees wanted property owners to vote and levellers argued everyone
should vote.
Political participation
o Political equality
Creation of the law
Equal chance of obtaining political office.
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