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What Accent the Heavenly Chorus? Political Equality and the American Pressure System

Kay Lehman Schlozman
The Journal of Politics
Vol. 46, No. 4 (Nov., 1984), pp. 1006-1032
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2131240
Page Count: 27
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
What Accent the Heavenly Chorus? Political Equality and the American Pressure System
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Abstract

This paper uses data from an enumeration of the nearly 7,000 interest organizations active in Washington politics to understand the kinds of interests that are likely to achieve representation in American national politics. Although much has been made of the arrival in Washington of many new citizens groups over the past two decades, business interests are overrepresented among organized interests there in terms of the number of interest organizations and the structure of interest representation. This overrepresentation takes place at the expense of the representation of the interests of broad publics and the poor. Further, in spite of the emergence over the past two decades of many organizations representing the interests of the previously underrepresented, the bias in the pressure system towards the interests of business and the well-off seems to have become more pronounced. Although there are complicated formal problems in attempting to harmonize the principle of political equality with the representation of interests by organizations and, therefore, in specifying what an unbiased pressure system would look like, it is clear that an unbiased pressure system would be quite different from what presently obtains.

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