Ever since Americans first raised the cry of "No taxation without representation," they have insisted upon having a voice in their government. Indeed, the framers of the Constitution ensured in our country's founding document that the voice of the people would drive our government. Look almost anywhere in the United States today and you will find some type of representative body, from Congress and state legislatures to school boards and student councils.
Americans value and cherish the ideals of democracy. Yet many people are less familiar and comfortable with how it all works in practice today in the halls of Congress and our state capitols. They view the legislative process as too slow, too contentious, too unresponsive - perceptions that lead to feelings of cynicism and distrust.
Representative Democracy in America: Voices of the People is a national project designed to reinvigorate and educate Americans on the critical relationship between government and the people it serves. The project introduces citizens, particularly young people, to the representatives, institutions, and processes that serve to realize the goal of a government of, by, and for the people.
- Improve public understanding of representative democracy and encourage Americans to play a responsible role in their government
- Strengthen classroom teaching about representative democracy, state legislatures and Congress.
- Develop mass media programs to inform the public about representative institutions
- Provide legislators and staff with resource materials to help improve public understanding of their institutions
- Support research on public views about Congress and state legislatures
The project is conducted by the Alliance for Representative Democracy, a partnership of the Center for Civic Education and the Center on Congress at Indiana University and the Trust for Representative Democracy, National Conference of State Legislatures.
For more information, see the RDA Brochure.