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Date of Award


Access Type

Campus Access

Document type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Political Science

First Advisor

Jeffrey L. Sedgwick

Second Advisor

Jerome M. Mileur

Third Advisor

Ralph Whitehead

Subject Categories

American Studies | Political Science | United States History


The institutions of representation are the target of continuous reform and repair in the United States. This dissertation examines the concepts of representation that have been used to support both representational reform and the status quo. In examining these concepts, I argue that the breadth of the public discourse on representation has narrowed over time. This has been the result of changes in three ideas that constitute the concept of representation: human nature, community, and the purpose of government. The content and relative balance of these ideas shape the concept of representation over time and thus the character of representative institutions.