This article focuses on some aspects of the French constitutional debate of the first half of the XIX th century. It argues that the "modern" idea of representation is far more complex than its traditional definition suggests. In particular, the essay analyses both the relationship between local and national forms of representation and the problem of the mandate in three key momeents: the elaboration of the 1814 Charte; the writings of Simonde de Sismondi and Benjamin Constant, compared with the revolutionary and the doctrinaire theories of representation; the constitutional debate taking place during the July Monarchy. The interaction between the local and the national dimension, it is argued, creates a conceptual field within which the idea of representation can be understood in all its nuances. The essay also shows how relevant such a re-interpretation of the notion of representation can be to the understanding of XIX th century political history.