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In this powerful work, John Stuart Mill sets forth representative government as the most sensible compromise between unreflective rule by the masses and the self-indulgence of the few. The reader of this volume senses that Mill is being pulled in opposing directions: steadfastly committed to majority rule with minority rights while at the same time being just enough of an aristocrat to believe that the masses need examplars to emulate.
On Representative Government is one of the most compelling political essays of the 19th century.
1. To what extent forms of government are a matter of choice; 2. The criterion of a good form of government; 3. That the ideally best form of government is representative government; 4. Under what social conditions representative government is inapplicable; 5. Of the proper functions of representative bodies; 6. Of the infirmities and dangers to which representative government is liable; 7. Of true and false democracy. Representation of all and representation of the majority only; 8. Of the extension of the suffrage; 9. Should there be two stages of election?; 10. Of the mode of voting; 11. Of the duration of Parliaments; 12. Ought pledges to be required from Members of Parliament; 13. Of a second chamber; 14. Of the executive in a representative government; 15. Of local representative bodies; 16. Of nationality, as connected with representative government; 17. Of federal representative governments; 18. Of the government of dependencies by a free state.