Representation long predated universal suffrage. The advent of mass democracy in a world in which elites were accustomed to take decisions (including political decisions) meant that the legitimacy of those in positions of authority was open to challenge from below. The notion of popular sovereignty implied that the people should not merely support those in power but exercise power themselves. This claim was circumvented in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by the view that direct democracy being impracticable in large states, it was both necessary and desirable that power should be entrusted to the few by the many. However, the latter could withdraw their consent periodically at elections, when competing candidates solicited their votes.