Considerations on Representative Government is a book by John Stuart Mill published in 1861. As the title suggests, it is an argument for representative government, the ideal form of government in Mill's opinion. One of the more notable ideas Mill puts forth in the book is that the business of government representatives is not to make legislation. Instead Mill suggests that representative bodies such as parliaments and senates are best suited to be places of public debate on the various opinions held by the population and to act as watchdogs of the professionals who create and administer laws and policy.
Being thus obliged to place before ourselves, as the test of good and bad government, so complex an object as the aggregate interests of society, we would willingly attempt some kind of classification of those interests, which, bringing them before the mind in definite groups, might give indication of the qualities by which a form of government is fitted to promote those various interests respectively. It would be a great facility if we could say the good of society consists of such and such elements; one of these elements requires such conditions, another such others; the government, then, which unites in the greatest degree all these conditions, must be the best. The theory of government would thus be built up from the separate theorems of the elements which compose a good state of society.
- Chapter I To What Extent Forms of Government are a Matter of Choice.
- Chapter II The Criterion of a Good Form of Government.
- Chapter III That the ideally best Form of Government is Representative Government.
- Chapter IV Under what Social Conditions Representative Government is Inapplicable.
- Chapter V Of the Proper Functions of Representative Bodies.
- Chapter VI Of the Infirmities and Dangers to which Representative Government is Liable.
- Chapter VII Of True and False Democracy; Representation of All, and Representation of the Majority only.
- Chapter VIII Of the Extension of the Suffrage.
- Chapter IX Should there be Two Stages of Election?
- Chapter X Of the Mode of Voting.
- Chapter XI Of the Duration of Parliaments.
- Chapter XII Ought Pledges to be Required from Members of Parliament?
- Chapter XIII Of a Second Chamber.
- Chapter XIV Of the Executive in a Representative Government.
- Chapter XV Of Local Representative Bodies.
- Chapter XVI Of Nationality, as connected with Representative Government.
- Chapter XVII Of Federal Representative Governments.
- Chapter XVIII Of the Government of Dependencies by a Free State.