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For the Many or the FewThe Initiative, Public Policy, and American Democracy$
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John G. Matsusaka

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780226510811

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226510873.001.0001

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Majority Tyranny and the Constitution

Majority Tyranny and the Constitution

Chapter:
(p.113) Chapter 8 Majority Tyranny and the Constitution
Source:
For the Many or the Few
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226510873.003.0008

The initiative process is a controversial part of American government, and has been for more than a century, yet the terms of debate have hardly changed. Opponents argue (as they did one hundred years ago) that the initiative allows narrow interests to subvert the political process, while defenders maintain (as they did one hundred years ago) that it allows the majority to counteract special interest subversion of the legislature. This chapter begins by considering the problem of majority tyranny and then examines how the initiative meshes with the Constitutional principles of American democracy.

Keywords:   majority tyranny, American government, American democracy, Constitutional principles, initiative, narrow interests

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