Who Created Representative Government?

Who Created Representative Government?
“Our model comes from England—medieval England.”

When looking at the American model of representative government, many have the idea that either America invented its own model or that it was adapted from the ancient model found in Roman senate. Historically, neither idea is true.

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The Roman senate has very little in common with the American model since senators were appointed and permanent with little connection to the idea of representing the population at large. In fact, our model comes from England—medieval England. Historian Brian Tierney explains:

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“A modern institution of representative government like the American senate has no meaningful connection whatsoever with the ancient Roman senate. On the other hand its whole nature and mode of functioning is rooted in an antecedent tradition of parliamentary government – and parliament did not come into existence in ancient Greece or ancient Rome but in medieval England” (Brain Tierney, “The Ecclesiastical Setting for Medieval Constitutionalism,” ed. Thomas N. Bisson, Medieval Representative Institutions, The Dryden Press: Hinsdale, Ill., 1973, p. 131).

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