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26 Okla. City U. L. Rev. 857 (2001)
Law's Necessary Forcefulness: Ralph Ellison vs. Hannah Arendt on the Battle of Little Rock

handle is hein.journals/okcu26 and id is 865 raw text is: LAW'S NECESSARY FORCEFULNESS: RALPH ELLISON VS.
HANNAH ARENDT ON THE BATTLE OF LITTLE ROCK
DANIELLE ALLEN*
I. INTRODUCTION
The men who wrote the Constitution of the United States aimed to
make the legislature the central power. They thus installed a paradox at the
heart of the politics of modern liberal democracies. The legislature, in this
case composed of the House of Representatives and Senate, is charged with
both representing the citizenry and lawmaking. As representative, the
legislature is, in accord with long tradition in liberal theory, meant to make
visible the diverse interests of all the citizens.' But lawmaking turns about
and once again renders some citizens, and their interests, invisible insofar
as the legislative bodies produce general rules as the basis for collective
action and so explicitly fail to respond to the diversity of citizens'
experiences and circumstances. Although laws aim at the common good,
they invariably harm some citizens. Indeed, the legal system is, in an
important way, a method of managing the variable distribution of harms and
* Danielle Allen is Associate Professor in the Departments of Classics and Political
Science, and on the Committee on Social Thought at The University of Chicago. She has
published The World ofPrometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens, and
is working on a book entitled Being Citizens: Problems of Sacrifice, Rhetoric, and Trust.
1. For instance, the Swiss legal theorist J.C. Bluntschli wrote:
Truly, as the map represents mountains and valleys, lakes and rivers, forests and
meadows, cities and villages, the legislative body, too, is to form again a
condensation of the component parts of the People, as well as of the People as
a whole, according to their actual relationships. The more noble parts may not
be crushed by the more massive ones, but the latter may not be excluded either.
The value of each part is determined by its significance in the whole and for the
whole. The relationships are organic, the scale is national.
J.C. BLUNTSCHLI, LEHRE VOM MODERNEN STAT 60 (Stuttgart 1876), translated in HANNA
FENICHEL PITKIN, THE CONCEPT OF REPRESENTATION 62 (1967). As Melissa Williams puts
it, There is something so compelling about the view that representation means accurate
reflection, once it has been articulated that the critics have accepted it unchallenged.
MELISSA S. WILLIAMS, VOICE, TRUST, AND MEMORY: MARGINALIZED GROUPS AND THE
FAILINGS OF LIBERAL REPRESENTATION 65 (1998).

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