Governing the Metropolis

Governing the Metropolis

Governing the Metropolis

Governing the Metropolis

Excerpt

In the past decade the American people have slowly become aware of a dramatic fact. We are an urban nation and the metropolis is our native habitat. Though we still think of a diffuse nation living in cities, small towns, and open-country neighborhoods, most of us will live out our lives within the compass of a few very large cities.

Little in our past has prepared us for this. Our political thought was developed from a concern with the direct democracy possible (at least in theory) within small governmental units, "governing best when governing least." Today our governments are, in sum, a vast network, corresponding to giant business corporations and great metropolitan complexes. Today we spend over sixty billion dollars a year for state and local government. The reason is clear; government grows precisely because the entire society is increasing in scale.

Concern with the federal government has sometimes led us to neglect the local community and its governance. And to be sure, war and economic prosperity, two of the great issues of the day, cannot be settled here. But other issues can and will be, and at the local level the average citizen has his major opportunity to control his collective fate. Democracy is an experiment in education; that education is most accessible in the local political community.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.