Cover: The Rise of Guardian Democracy: The Supreme Court's Role in Voting Rights Disputes, 1845-1969, from Harvard University PressCover: The Rise of Guardian Democracy in E-DITION

The Rise of Guardian Democracy

The Supreme Court's Role in Voting Rights Disputes, 1845-1969

Available from De Gruyter »

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674331020

Publication Date: 01/01/1974

391 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 »

In this controversial book, Ward E. Y. Elliott contrasts the phenomenal outburst of voting rights reforms of the 1960s with earlier reforms and finds the modern actions, though more democratic in inspiration and substance, less democratic in effect. Modern reforms have weakened representative institutions by asking too much of them, by overriding them, and by making them less workable. This Guardian Democracy, he argues, is the product of perfectionist ideology, the Guardian Ethic, which dominated intellectual opinionmakers of the 1960s. It favored modern over traditional, action over inaction, expert over amateur, and special over standard. Elliott examines the dismal results of reforms endorsed by social scientists—proportional representation, reapportionment, quotas, and others—and concludes that they are as much examples of power guiding knowledge as of knowledge guiding power.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Marking the 75th Anniversary of Independence from British Rule

August 14 and August 15 mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of independence from British rule for Pakistan and India, respectively. Inextricably linked to the birth of these two South Asian nations is the 1947 Partition of the subcontinent that tragically accompanied the end of British colonialism.