This chapter, which concerns the activities of members of the United States House of Representatives when they are back home with their constituents, examines the various constituency activities of four African American House members and proposes some conceptual guidelines to help in studying in-the-constituency activities. The observational and conceptual purposes enhance the study of representation in the American political system. The focus is on representation as a process—a continuous process—that links the activities of elected officials to those of their constituents. The most heavily researched activity of elected representatives has been their votes in Congress, and the most heavily researched activity of the constituents has been their votes at election time. This emphasis on the two sets of voters is certainly the right one, because the linkage between them is the bottom-line relationship in a representative democracy.
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