When Nebraskans voted to trade in their bicameral, partisan legislature for a one-house, nonpartisan body in 1934, it was a revolutionary decision. The people of the state listened to George Norris, their U.S. senator, when he argued that the new institution would be more open, more efficient, more responsible, and more responsive to the people it was meant to serve. An ardent progressive, Norris convinced his fellow Nebraskans that a nonpartisan unicameral would take power from the elites and return it to "the people." One House examines the magnetic and driven personalities at work behind the unicameral's creation and chronicles the lawmakers' struggles to remain true to the populist, progressive vision of its founders and the people of Nebraska. Using historical research, surveys of Nebraskans and of current and former state senators, as well as in-depth interviews with senators and legislative observers, Charlyne Berens examines whether the promises that Norris and his fellow unicameral promoters made have held up over the years. Garnering a great deal of support and some criticism from the citizens of Nebraska, the one-house legislature remains a unique experiment in American democracy as well as a powerful symbol of Nebraskans' identity. Charlyne Berens is an associate professor of journalism and mass communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is the author of Power to the People: Social Choice and the Populist/Progressive Ideal and Leaving Your Mark: The Political Career of Nebraska State Senator Jerome Warner.
  • ISBN13: 9780803262331
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Pubilcation Year: 2005
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 00244
Publication DateMarch 1, 2005
Primary CategoryPolitical Science/American Government - Legislative Branch
Sub Category 1Political Science/American Government - State

One House: The Unicameral's Progressive Vision for Nebraska

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