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Accountability and DemocracyThe Pitfalls and Promise of Popular Control$
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Craig T. Borowiak

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199778256

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199778256.001.0001

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Managing Republicanism

Managing Republicanism

Democratic Deficits and the U.S. Ratification Debates

Chapter:
(p.27) 1 Managing Republicanism
Source:
Accountability and Democracy
Author(s):

Craig T. Borowiak

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199778256.003.0001

This chapter uses the eighteenth-century ratification debates between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists to reflect upon competing accountability tendencies inherent in representative democracy. Both sets of authors conceived of electoral accountability mechanisms as part of a politics of control designed to manage the various gaps separating representatives from citizens. However, they had different understandings of what such a politics should entail. Counterintuitively, the Federalists believed that expanding the distances between citizens and representatives could actually enhance the accountability of government. The Anti-Federalists, by contrast, placed greater emphasis upon the pacifying effects accountability institutions can have upon citizens. They believed republican accountability depends on the active participation of diverse citizens, a form of participation that is undermined when government grows distant. Drawn together, these competing visions illustrate numerous pitfalls of institutional design and how republican appeals to accountability can be made to serve conflicting agendas. They demonstrate the need to balance the effects accountability institutions have on government with the effects they have on citizens.

Keywords:   federalists, anti-federalists, U.S. ratification debates, electoral accountability, representative democracy, republicanism, accountability gaps, institutional design, citizens

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