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Raise your eyes to the horizon

“It is a false principle in the vulgar ideas of representation, that a man delegated by a particular district in a state, is the representative of that district only; whereas in truth a member of the legislature from any town or county, is the representative of the whole state. In passing laws, he is to view the whole collective interest of the state, and act from that view; not from a partial regard to the interest of the town or county where he is chosen. The same principle extends to the Congress of the United States. A delegate is bound to represent the true local interest of his constituents—to state it in its true light to the whole body—but when each provincial interest is thus stated, every member should act for the aggregate interest of the whole confederacy. The design of representation is to bring this collective interest into view—a delegate is not the legislator of a single state—he is as much the legislator of the whole confederacy as of the particular state where he is chosen; and if he gives his vote for a law which he believes to be beneficial to his own state only, and pernicious to the rest, he betrays his trust and violates his oath. It is indeed difficult for a man to divest himself of local attachments and act from an impartial regard to the general good; but he who cannot for the most part do this, is not a good legislator.” – Noah Webster, “An Examination Into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution” (emphasis in original)

Published inPolitics & LawThe American Constitution

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