Motives for Direct Democracy

 
Direct Democracy became an issue during the Progressive era for several reasons.
Political party caucuses were powerful in legislative bodies.  The caucuses and their leaders sometimes sought to prevent emotionally divisive issues (such as prohibition) from arising on the floor of the chamber where legislators would have to take a position.  Groups such as the Anti-Saloon League, frustrated by this situation, sometimes sought to have direct democracy in order to circumvent legislative bodies.
In general, special interests of all sorts sought direct democracy when they believed they might win with a direct popular appeal, bypassing legislatures.  This motive might be true of business and professional organizations, as well as reform groups like the prohibitionists.
The rhetoric of direct democracy called upon "the people" to rule.  This rhetoric had a powerful appeal, especially when legislative bodies were corrupt, or when judges rendered unpopular decisions.

Direct Democracy in the Campaign

The Parties and Direct Democracy

Arguments Against Direct Democracy

Arguments for Direct Democracy