The Writings of Senator Charles Buckalew:

Early Champion of Proportional Representation

 

     Charles Buckalew was a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania from 1865-1871.  He was one of the earliest promoters of proportional representation elections in this country.  In his speeches and writings, he argued that PR "permits the representation of a greater variety of opinions and interests in legislative bodies, without impairing the right and power of the majority to rule."  Later, he played an important role in promoting the adoption of cumulative voting -- a semiproportional system -- in the Illinois state legislature, where it was used from 1870 to 1980  .

       There are two locations on the web that carry the writings of Buckalew.  The Center for Voting and Democracy has a page called "A 19th Century Champion of Democracy" that contains excerpts of some of his speeches and writings.  The Making of America website contains his entire 1872 book, "Proportional Representation," which is a collection of all of his speeches and writings on this subject -- a fascinating original resource.