Majority Party Leadership in Congress

Majority Party Leadership in Congress

Majority Party Leadership in Congress

Majority Party Leadership in Congress

Excerpt

Several years ago Ralph K. Huitt, Director of the Study of Congress, Charles O. Jones, of the University of Arizona, and I discussed at length what work on party leadership should have priority in the Study of Congress. We agreed that the theme of alternatives open to party leaders needed developing. Jones decided to work on the minority party; I took the majority party as my province. Writing this volume was the result of that discussion.

Political scientists have written little on majority party leadership in the American Congress. Even descriptive efforts are scarce. Yet the subject is important and worthy of close analysis.

In order to make such an analysis I collected a wide variety of data on a number of Congresses. These data came from many sources: general observations based on interviews, round table discussions, and personal observation of Congress; official documents; newspapers; magazines; biographies; autobiographies and memoirs; and a variety of scholarly literature. Other data that might be useful remain to be collected and analyzed. For example, roll call data in exactly comparable form for the Congress studied would be extremely helpful on many points, but to develop such data would take several years and more resources than were available for this study. An early draft used roll call data easily available, but for a variety of reasons they proved more distracting than helpful. The data cited here on any individual Congress may not be perfectly comparable with the data on another Congress, yet the parallels are sufficient to allow numerous general statements to be made.

References to material that was directly useful for writing this book may be found in the footnotes. For a more comprehensive bibliography see Charles O. Jones and Randall B. Ripley, The Role of Political

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