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Size, Democracy & Political Control

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Size, Democracy & Political Control: Measuring the effect of community size on local political autonomy
“…The institutions of a township are to freedom what primary schools are to science; they put it within reach of the people; they make them taste its peaceful employ and habituate them to making use of it. Without the institutions of a township a nation can give itself a free government, but it does not have the spirit of freedom.” Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
If democracy in government is understood as the personal involvement of citizens in the functions and power of governance, then the strongest democracy can be found where power and the responsibility of decision making are the least delegated by citizens to their representatives, and where individuals are most able to personally interact with and control the levers of government. This is reflected in Frank Bryan's “Real Democracy” (Bryan, 2004) and his body of work on town meetings in Vermont; smaller poli…