Senators Beholden to the People

Lincoln and the Doctrine of Instruction


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About the Book

The American Republic’s founders debated whether to have a government based on direct democracy (in which the general population decided public policy questions, as in a New England town meeting) or representative democracy (in which those decisions were made by senators and congressmen on behalf of the general population). A related issue was whether the general population should have the “right of instruction” which gave citizens authority to expel from office government officials who disobeyed the desires of the population. The right of instruction is now largely forgotten but in former times was considered so important that it was routinely included in state constitutions. This book examines the competition between direct democracy and representative democracy in the United States, focusing particularly on the doctrine of instruction, through the lens of the pre-presidential career of Abraham Lincoln.

About the Author(s)

Richard Lawrence Miller is a retired community organizer and public radio producer. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri.

Bibliographic Details

Richard Lawrence Miller
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 130
Bibliographic Info: 33 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9171-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5090-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Part 1. Instruction 5
Part 2. Election of Senators by State Legislatures 43
Part 3. Lincoln’s Experiences with U.S. Senate
Campaigns 91
Epilogue: A Modest Proposal 109
Chapter Notes 111
Bibliography 117
Index 121