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Fighting for the Speakership The House and the Rise of Party Government

ISBN-10: 0691156441
ISBN-13: 9780691156446
Edition: 2013
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Description: The Speaker of the House of Representatives is the most powerful partisan figure in the contemporary U.S. Congress. How this came to be, and how the majority party in the House has made control of the speakership a routine matter, is far from  More...

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Book details

Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 11/11/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 496
Size: 7.00" wide x 10.00" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 1.760
Language: English

The Speaker of the House of Representatives is the most powerful partisan figure in the contemporary U.S. Congress. How this came to be, and how the majority party in the House has made control of the speakership a routine matter, is far from straightforward.Fighting for the Speakershipprovides a comprehensive history of how Speakers have been elected in the U.S. House since 1789, arguing that the organizational politics of these elections were critical to the construction of mass political parties in America and laid the groundwork for the role they play in setting the agenda of Congress today.Jeffery Jenkins and Charles Stewart show how the speakership began as a relatively weak office, and how votes for Speaker prior to the Civil War often favored regional interests over party loyalty. While struggle, contention, and deadlock over House organization were common in the antebellum era, such instability vanished with the outbreak of war, as the majority party became an "organizational cartel" capable of controlling with certainty the selection of the Speaker and other key House officers. This organizational cartel has survived Gilded Age partisan strife, Progressive Era challenge, and conservative coalition politics to guide speakership elections through the present day. Fighting for the Speakership reveals how struggles over House organization prior to the Civil War were among the most consequential turning points in American political history.

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
List of Abbreviations
Preface
Introduction
The Evolving Roles and Responsibilities of House Officers in the Antebellum Era
Organizational Politics under the Secret Ballot
Bringing the Selection of House Officers into the Open
Shoring Up Partisan Control: The Speakership Elections of 1839 and 1847
Partisan Tumult on the Floor: The Speakership Elections of 1849 and 1855-1856
The Speakership and the Rise of the Republican Party
Caucus Governance and the Emergence of the Organizational Cartel, 1861-1891
The Organizational Cartel Persists, 1891-2011
Conclusion
Appendixes: House Officer Elections and Caucus Nominations
Summary of House Organization, First-112th Congresses (1789-2011)
Election of House Speaker, First-112th Congresses
Election of House Clerk, First-112th Congresses
Election of House Printer, 15th-36th Congresses
Summary of Democratic and Republican Caucus Nominations for Speaker, 38th-112th Congresses
Democratic and Republican Caucus Nominations for Speaker, 38th-112th Congresses
References
Index

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