POLS 1000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Levellers
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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
• 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
• “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
• Political participation
o Political equality
▪ Creation of the law
▪ Equal chance of obtaining political office.
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