According to Cooper (1991), most people are more concerned with the rights included in their citizenship status than they are in the responsibilities attached to those rights. When a private citizen chooses to serve as a public administrator, such as a civil servant, however, he or she is more apt to run into ethical conflicts which may complicate how best to serve their organizations while also taking care of their own personal rights and responsibilities. This paper will analyze the role of the public administrator in encouraging and promoting direct democracy in the United States by first describing the developments in American political history that support such a role and then by discussing the implications of that role for citizen participation.
Developments in American Political History
Before the United States was established there was a debate as to the role a citizen played in the community and government. As seen by Coke, a citizen was seen as someone who owed unquestionable allegiance to the ruler, in return the ruler promised to protect the citizen. Locke asserted, however, that since all people are considered equal under God, all are equally capable of carrying out responsibilities for supporting the community. Reasonably then, it makes more sense to appoint people who represent the needs of the community to carry out those responsibilities (Cooper, 1991). It was the community, according to Locke, that determined right of citizenship and the extent of the government. By consent of the community and as representatives of the community, the government carried out the responsibilities and obligations of the community (1991).
It was this reasoning that determined the action of British subjects to decide to cleave their alliance with Britain and begin their own community called the United States. Those who framed the Constitution themselves believed in a more limited role on the part of the citizenry in the...