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The Trustee and the Delegate

In 1774, English statesman Edmund Burke addressed a group of people who had helped elect him to Parliament, making clear that he would exercise independent judgment in representing them. He said that, though an elected representative should give full respect to the opinions of constituents and full attention to their business, the representative's

unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure,—no, nor from the law and the Constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he ...

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