Reinventing the People
Democratic regimes govern in the name of the People. The idea that they have of the People is apparently very simple. The People is made up of individuals, equal among themselves, who would regularly elect their own representatives, subject to just and unarbitrary laws, equal before those laws, and free to profess their own faith. Nevertheless, evoking the People is not enough to make them a political actor, and yet this is what involuntarily occurred. Once sovereignty had been attributed to the People, this immediately postulated an intricate tangle of problems. These were destined to weigh on representative regimes first, and on democratic ones later. How these problems have been solved? The point is that the People have been since always a crucial stake of political struggle. Each party is willing to design the People according to its preferences. One of the main tools used to shape the People is political representation. But there are many others. For instance educational policies. But the most important tool is the itself definition of the People. This paper underlines the most recent ones, which were adopted in the second half of XXth century: the definition of the People as made of taxpayers, consumers, and stake-holders.