Toward a Republican Liberalism

36 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2008

See all articles by John A. Ferejohn

John A. Ferejohn

NYU Law School

Frances McCall Rosenbluth

Yale University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: February 2006


Modern democracies are governed by elected elites providing only limited opportunities for a popular role in government. In Lincoln's terms they are governments "of" but not in any sense "by" the people. The central democratic justification of such governments is that they tend to work tolerably well "for" the people, at least compared to feasible alternatives. Theories of elite competition attempt to provide some reassurance that competition for office may induce officials to pay attention to popular wants and, in that way, to show how a government could satisfy Lincoln's third test -- furthering common interests.

Suggested Citation

Ferejohn, John A. and Rosenbluth, Frances McCall, Toward a Republican Liberalism (February 2006). Available at SSRN: or

John A. Ferejohn

NYU Law School ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
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2129986029 (Phone)

Frances McCall Rosenbluth (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States
203-432-5256 (Phone)

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