Cover: Direct Democracy: The Politics of Initiative, Referendum, and Recall, from Harvard University PressCover: Direct Democracy in E-DITION

Direct Democracy

The Politics of Initiative, Referendum, and Recall

Available from De Gruyter »

Product Details


$65.00 • €48.00

ISBN 9780674330092

Publication Date: 03/03/1989

289 pages


Related Subjects

Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

As we celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution’s ratification, we are mindful that the founding fathers were fearful of direct democracy; virtuous representatives were to be at the center of the new political experiment. Ballot democracy, populist democracy, democracy by initiative, referendum, and recall—however one labels it—is only ninety years old in the United States and has been in and out of fashion during that time. Currently there is a resurgence of interest in new kinds of forces trying to overturn legislative and executive fiat by direct ballot; political scientist Thomas Cronin suggests why this is so, how it is working, and what should be done.

Cronin evaluates a host of initiatives and referenda offered in twenty-six states over the years—including some very difficult recent issues such as tax caps on spending, the death penalty, pornography, prayer in schools, abortion, and homosexual rights—and he makes sense out of what the sponsors were up to and how voters reacted. Through the analysis of hundreds of reports, studies, hearings, polls, and interviews that cover the country from Maine to California, he provides evidence to assess the state of participatory democracy—what happens when people decide to take charge after they perceive that their elected representatives have failed to understand them. Public officials, newspaper editors, legislators, and opinion makers, as well as students and scholars of political science and public administration, will turn to this book for an up-to-date understanding of the peculiarities of grassroots politics.

Recent News

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Number of the Heavens: A History of the Multiverse and the Quest to Understand the Cosmos, by Tom Siegfried, from Harvard University Press

Q&A with Tom Siegfried, author of The Number of the Heavens: A History of the Multiverse and the Quest to Understand the Cosmos

In The Number of the Heavens, Tom Siegfried, the award-winning former editor of Science News, shows that one of the most fascinating and controversial ideas in contemporary cosmology—the existence of multiple parallel universes—has a long and divisive history that continues to this day. We spoke to him about the possible existence of a multiverse and the co

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library ( extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.