Sunday, March 9, 2014

Mill on Representative Government

My reading group (called "The Council of Losers" after one of Hume's more provocative recommendations for government) is just finishing John Stuart Mill's Considerations on Representative Government [1861]. I cannot for the life of me understand why I never came across it earlier in my scholarly career. Perhaps I am mistaken, but it seems to me an immensely important book (especially for its era) that has been substantially undervalued among Mill's many important works. It combines theoretical and structural aspects of political thought in almost equal measure. If I taught a basic course in representative government (or even political theory) I would at the very least have my students read Chapter 6 "On the Infirmities and Dangers to which Representative Government is Liable," if not the entire book.

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