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This work contains the updated papers presented at the Conference ""How Did They Become Voters? The History of Franchise in Modern European Representational Systems"", which was organized under the auspices of the European University Institute and held on 20-22 April, 1995 in Florence. It examines the basic mechanisms regulating electoral processes in many countries, both in Europe and the rest of the world, in the 19th and 20th centuries.;In the introductory chapter, Raffaele Romanelli sets out the framework for a comparative analysis of the interaction between representative processes and social structures. He demonstrates that the electoral norms which were adopted in many countries all respond to the concept of political representation which existed at the beginning of the 19th century in Europe. Political representation was aimed at overcoming and concealing the divisions in society and promoting a country's unification.;The book compares various models of representation and concludes that these cannot be put in a hierarchical order ranging from restricted elitist representation to universal and equal suffrage of modern democracy. Rather, a framework is provided which not only clarifies the history of suffrage, but also reflects upon the many contradictions and crises suffered by representative democracy in current times.