The Woodrow Wilson Center Press

What People are Saying

“An interesting volume on Congress and its democratic relationships with the people.”—Choice

“The author, a long-time Republican staff member in the U.S. Congress who played a key role in the events leading up to and following the Republican takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994, eschews the traditional memoir in favor of a more ambitious approach. Certainly, Wolfensberger relies on stories from his tenure in the House, but he also plays the role of historian and political scientist.”—Neil Berch, Controversia

“This book contains the best and finest understanding of Congressional behavior I know and makes anew—and in the context of current political issues and means of communication—our founders’ case for deliberative, representative democracy.”—Anthony C. Beilenson, former U.S. Representative from California

“Anyone who reads this study will recognize immediately that the scholarship that went into it is superior.… With the twenty-first century just around the corner, it is especially timely given its assessment of the tension between our republican form of government and ‘virtual democracy.’”—Walter Oleszek, American University

Chapter List


1. Making a Constitution

2. The Bill of Rights: Madison Gets Religion

3. The Right to Petition: The Long Drive

4. Congress and the Progressive Era

5. The Initiative and Referendum Movement

6. National Referendum Proposals and the Isolationist Impulse

7. The Dawning of the Sunshine Seventies

8. A Window on Congress: Televising Floor Debates

9. The Revival of Direct Democracy Proposals

10. The Road to the Republican Revoluation

11. The Road to Governance: Revolution, Reform, and Reality

12. Coming Full Circle: The Complete Revolution?

13. Term Limits and the Scarlet Letter

14. The Electronic Congress

15. The Curtain Falls Twice on the House

16. The Future of Deliberative Democracy

Appendix A: Voter Turnout in States with and without Statutory Initiatives and/or Referendums, 1992 and 1996 General Elections
Appendix B: House Legislative Data for 103d–105th Congresses

About Woodrow Wilson Center Press

Woodrow Wilson Center Press publishes books by fellows, other resident scholars, and staff written in substantial part at the Wilson Center.