In episode 008 we took a look at the way state legislatures work.
But when we only talk about the way institutions work today, it’s easy to accept that that’s how they were meant to be, or how they must be. Choices made in the past become caked on. They become indistinguishable from the institution itself. A look back can rid us of the assumption that history is a straight line, and that our institutions are always progressing.
While they look very different from one another today, legislatures have gone through some key changes over the year. On this episode, we look back at a few of these evolutionary milestones, in an attempt to answer the question: have we arrived where we want to be?
A major shout-out to political science champ and University of Michigan Professor Pereville Squire, without whom we probably wouldn't have a comprehensive genealogy of state legislatures. Most of the background from this and other episodes was pulled from two of his books:
- The Evolution of American Legislatures: Colonies, Territories, and States, 1619-2009
- State Legislatures Today: Politics under the Domes
If you thought these episodes were comprehensive, whoa buddy. Just you wait.
And, as mentioned in the show, here are the minutes from the very first meeting of the Virginia House of Burgesses.
Additional background was pulled from articles and web sources too numerous to list here. If you want to read them, shoot me an email at localnationpodcast (at) gmail (dot) com. Warning: if you're the kind of person who reaches out for more homework on this subject, I will probably try to recruit you to the podcast.