Allen Hendershott Eaton, "The Oregon System," 1912


This chapter of Eaton's book, which was published in 1912, defines and describes the role of initiatives and referendums in the legislative system in Oregon. It serves as a necessary background for understanding the unique system in Oregon which allowed the Compulsory Education Bill to be voted on in 1922 without needing the support or approval of Oregon's legislature.



  • What is the difference between an initiative and a referendum?
  • Define direct democracy and representative democracy. Into which category does the Oregon System described here fit?
  • What are the risks and benefits of the Oregon System? Explain why you think this system should or should not be used by your local or national government today.