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Lecture 9

Lecture 9

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 1000
Martin Breaugh

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Lecture 9
Solution to enigma, consent and political legitimacy
Lot does not offer ongoing/renewing consent
Expression of hazard or chance
At least 2/3 of modern democratic revolutions will oppose heredity
Easier to attack kingship by invoking the need for consent
Recourse to elections allow another egalitarian principles to emerge
o Expression for the principle of distinction
o Distinguishing feature
o Public office holders must be different from their electors
Difference is a good thing
o Define principle of distinction
Representatives should be economically, socially, and morally superior
to electors
More wealthy, talented , and virtuous
“representative government was instituted in full awareness that
elected representatives would and should be distinguished citizens,
socially different from those who elected them
People who founded representative government wanted public office
holders to be more wealthy, talented , and virtuous than the common
people (important, controversial point)
We all feel our regime is a fair and egalitarian, and it’s
contentious because it put into question a commonly shared
democratic ideal that no one person or group of people knows
enough to take away our right to govern
o one important principle of Athenian regime
Designed that the same people/same kind of people gets
Distinction principle manifesting itself in England, France, US
Contributes to Manin’s conclusion that we live in a regime that can best
be described in a “democratic aristocracy”, a mixed regime (same as
Venice), bourgeois ideology/liberalism
England: Deference and Cost
Selection of member of parliament was rarely a contestant process before English Civil
War, (not opposed)
o Either unanimously reelected
After 1640, more or less competitive, just between opposing elites, wasn’t truly
By mid 18th century, England return to election not contested
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Factors to explain why elections were not contested
o Cultural climate
Social rank and prestige were particularly influential cultural factors in
Widespread belief that only the most prominent citizens should
naturally exercise political office
Tendency to give in to the will of others, especially those who
enjoyed social standing and prestige
Importance of social hierarchy and respect for hierarchy is a
distinctive trait of British political culture
Maybe can also be seen in English speaking Canada
o Cost
Cost of contesting elections
Manin 97, distance and travel cost will make election hearing a rich
man’s pursuit”
o Implicit: Deference and cost
o Explicit: 1710, reinforced by the introduction of property requirements, quite
high, and will favour presence of both landed and money interest in parliament
Landed: mostly aristocracy, inherited property
Money: bourgeoisie
o Able to run for parliament
o Introduction of property requirement, the wishes of grandees will be realized
2 categories of citizens
Creating a two tier electoral process
Early years 1789-1792
o France would have two types of citizens, to vote
Active citizens
Able to pay the equivalent of 3 days wages in direct taxes
Passive citizens
Could not pay
People who could pay but under the influence others (servants,
the poor, homeless, monks, etc)
Still enjoyed certain rights, protected and guaranteed certain
rights, access to civil, property, and security rights
Seem restricted but more people were allowed to be active citizens
than most European countries
o There was an attempt to restrict public office to those who have a fixed interest
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