The representatives form an independent ruling body (for an election period) charged with the responsibility of acting in the people's interest, but not as their proxy representatives nor necessarily always according to their wishes, but with enough authority to exercise swift and resolute initiative in the face of changing circumstances. Moreover, democracies in the modern and contemporary world as so called since the representatives are voted for by the people. Such a method makes them solely accountable to the people. It is often contrasted with direct democracy, where representatives are absent or are limited in power as proxy representatives. Edmund Burke was an early proponent of these principles:
...it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But his unbiassed opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.
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