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Why Negative Campaigning Is Rational: The Rhetoric of the Ratification Campaign of 1787–1788*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 December 2008

William H. Riker
University of Rochester, Rochester, NY


Electoral campaigns are a distinguishing feature, worldwide, of modern representative democracies. For most citizens in most polities, campaigns provide a compelling incentive to think about government. So campaigns thus are a, perhaps the, main point of contact between officials and the populace over matters of public policy. If, as democratic theorists postulate, rulers are responsible to the ruled, the nexus of responsibility, the time and place that we impose it, is during campaigns and the elections in which they culminate.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1991

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