When considering the advantages and pitfalls of various styles of representation one can make several arguments to the strengths of a delegate model or a trustee model. Importantly, the intended purpose is of seminal importance and requires significant consideration. The reason for this emphasis is that the establishment of a congressional body requires guidelines by which the construction and maintenance of that body should proceed.
According to the delegate model of representation, an elected representative lacks autonomy in his decision making. That is to say, his obligation to his constituents is to best represent their stated objectives, in effect serving as a relay conduit for constituents. The trustee model stresses that a representative is charged with petitioning for the best interests of his constituency according to his best judgment. When honing in on the US Congress in specific, it is not necessarily clear which model is advocated by the Constitution. The Constitution names the parties elected to Congress as “representatives.” To represent means to bring an idea, a notion, a conviction and convey it once more. Ostensibly then, the responsibility, the very definition of a representative is to covey these messages and not to create an interlude of personal values and judgment calls with the stated desires of a constituency. However, in outlining the process for the election of a president, the founding fathers made a profound statement. Though this system has changed, the original practice for the election of a president was that individuals would cast a vote to declare their support for a candidate and each state would be given a certain number of electoral votes, to be cast by well-informed electors who would at times deviate from the stated designs of the people. The purpose of this functionality as the founding fathers saw it was to ensure that intelligent, well informed individuals would hold the greatest sway in ensuring that only a fitting candidate became president, in effect creating a trusteeship.
Looking at these competing arguments, one can easily point out a key flaw in each. With regard to the former, the term representative is underspecified. While true that the word is defined as another presentation of a stated opinion/ambition, one can choose to select an individual to pursue their needs in their stead. This, in fact, is a common practice in most aspects of life. For example, one will often ask a doctor or a lawyer to give their exert opinion and choose an action on that basis. This situation is more similar to democratic government than not in that candidates present a platform of ideals and constituents choose him to pursue them. Thus, one can choose an individual to represent them because they are well-informed and better suited to the task. This definition leaves room for the trustee model. Consider the latter argument in favor of the trustee model. It is flawed in that it concerns the presidency and not the congress; however, what it does prove is that the founders were not diametrically opposed to a trustee system of government and in fact created a mechanism by which it could exist. While perhaps as a legal argument that would serve as only circumstantial evidence, it does go a long way towards understanding the ethos of those who created a given system.
Arguments can be made in favor of either model of representative government; however, through careful examination and analysis of the diction of the US Constitution and the various mechanisms of the US electoral system it becomes clear that the founders were philosophically aligned with the notion of a trusteeship while an argument favoring the delegate model lacks the evidence to support a thesis of support on the part of the framers of the extant congressional system in the US.