The Case of Frank L. Smith: A Study in Representative Government

The Case of Frank L. Smith: A Study in Representative Government

The Case of Frank L. Smith: A Study in Representative Government

The Case of Frank L. Smith: A Study in Representative Government

Excerpt

Government by representatives is a fundamental element in the structure of the modern democratic state. Its evolution from earliest times has been regarded as embodying the progressive effort of the community to emancipate itself from control by special groups. Like other institutions constructed to satisfy human needs, the representative process has achieved fruition only to encounter challenge. "Unforeseen consequences" have attended the establishment of universal suffrage; the theory that the existence of the opportunity to choose officials at the polls guarantees the embodiment, in legislation and administration, of the "will of the electorate" has broken down at many points. Demands for reform or reconstruction emerge from many quarters. Dictatorships arise abroad; disrepute threatens representative government at home.

The thoughtful reader will not question the seriousness of this challenge. Light and guidance he will demand: light upon the critical weaknesses of existing forms; guidance as to useful remedial procedures. The present study is an attempt to contribute to these needs.

The intrinsic interest attaching to the case of Frank L. Smith would perhaps in itself justify an intensive exploration of its development and implications. Here, surely, is drama cast in the bold outlines so characteristic of the ruggedness of American life! The cast of characters lacks neither heroes nor villains, sinister embodiments of evil nor bold champions of virtue. Its action is implicit with crisis and climax, lacking only the "solution" demanded by the conventions of the stage. But, more than this, the career of . . .

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