Considerations on Representative Government
Title page of the first edition
AuthorJohn Stuart Mill
CountryUnited Kingdom
PublisherParker, Son, and Bourn
Publication date
Media typePrint
Pagesviii, 340 pp.

Considerations on Representative Government is a book by John Stuart Mill published in 1861.[1][2]


Mill argues for representative government, the ideal form of government in his opinion. One of the more notable ideas Mill puts forth in the book is that the business of government representatives is not to make legislation. Instead Mill suggests that representative bodies such as parliaments and senates are best suited to be places of public debate on the various opinions held by the population and to act as watchdogs of the professionals who create and administer laws and policy. In his words:[3]

Their part is to indicate wants, to be an organ for popular demands, and a place of adverse discussion for all opinions relating to public matters, both great and small; and, along with this, to check by criticism, and eventually by withdrawing their support, those high public officers who really conduct the public business, or who appoint those by whom it is conducted.


  1. ^ See Mill, John Stuart (1861). Considerations on Representative Government (1 ed.). London: Parker, Son, & Bourn. Retrieved 20 June 2014. via Google Books
  2. ^ See Mill, John Stuart (1873). Considerations on Representative Government (1 ed.). New York: Henry Holt & Company. Retrieved 20 June 2014. via
  3. ^ John Stuart Mill (1861), "Of the Proper Functions of Representative Bodies", Considerations on Representative Government, London: Parker, Son, and Bourn, pp. 86–107 at 106, OCLC 3751806.