Keith L. Dougherty
One of the first and most important issues debated by the framers was whether the Articles of Confederation had failed. In particular, early Americans wanted to know why the states withheld some resources from the federal government. The Federalists argued that states acted unilaterally and had no incentive to contribute. The Anti-Federalists argued that states contributed as part of their duty to the union but had insufficient resources to comply fully. This paper attempts to resolve the debate by modeling the Federalist argument as states behaving according to a Nash-Cournot, joint products equilibrium and the Anti-Federalist argument as states behaving according to a Lindahl, pure public goods equilibrium. It then compares the demand equations associated with each to state contributions in soldiers from 1777 to 1783. Evidence suggests that states contributed more consistent with a Nash-Cournot equilibrium and the Federalist argument. Moderate contributions are explained by the presence of joint products.
Sherman at the Constitutional Convention
Keith L. Dougherty and Jac Heckelman
This paper explains why Roger Sherman was influential at the constitutional convention. Using empirically estimated ideal points, we argue that Sherman was a pivotal voter from a pivotal state. If the votes were tallied by delegates individually, then Sherman would have been less pivotal. This suggests that the voting procedures adopted at the constitutional convention may have affected Sherman’s ability to get his interests enacted. Such institutions might have been more responsible for making Sherman influential than his intrinsic qualities.
Voting on Slavery at the Constitutional Convention
Keith L. Dougherty and Jac Heckelman
This study extends research on the motivation of the framers at the Constitutional convention in two important ways. First, the paper increases the number of usable observations by inferring delegate voting patterns on slavery issues. This is done using records of state roll call votes, manuscripts from Kaminski and Saladino (1981) and Hutson (1987), and similar sources. Second, the paper analyzes the type of constituent interests that may have affected delegate voting on slavery issues: the interests of state legislators (who elected delegates to the convention), the interests of citizens within a state (who the delegates allegedly represented), and the interests of people living in the delegate’s county (who might elect delegates to future posts). This helps to determine whether the framers acted as agents of those who elected them, cared about the effects on future constituencies, or simply took advantage of the situation for personal gain.
A Look Under the Surface: Modeling the Advent of Two-Party Competition in Southern Legislatures, 1960-2000
M.V. (Trey) Hood III
Over the last 40 years the
American South has undergone a radical political transformation. One of the
chief features of this transformation is the development of a viable two-party
system. Using a pooled time series methodology a model is constructed to
explain the growth in state legislative competition using Key’s theory of
secular realignments. We find evidence that both short and long-term
processes were at work helping to propel the rise of the Republican Party at
the sub-state level. The infusion of blacks into the political environment
(post VRA) and the subsequent movement of conservative whites out of the
Democratic Party had a profound and enduring effect on legislative competition
in the region. Likewise, GOP Senate and gubernatorial victories played a
critical role in boosting both state legislative contestations and seat
victories. In contrast to previous scholarship, however, we find little
evidence that presidential races played a direct role in improving GOP
fortunes in the state house.
Assessing the Incumbency Advantage across Time: Evidence from the Nineteenth Century U.S. Congress
Jamie L. Carson and Jason M. Roberts
In the context of research on the U.S. Congress, a virtual cottage industry has arisen over studies of the incumbency advantage. Beginning with the work of congressional scholars who first recognized the advantages of incumbency, a number of competing explanations have been proposed to explain the overwhelming rates at which incumbent legislators get reelected in the contemporary era. Despite the variety of existing explanations for this phenomenon, a number of questions still remain as to what exactly contributes to the incumbency advantage in Congress. Furthermore, previous explanations have focused almost exclusively on the advantages of incumbency during the contemporary era. Indeed, almost nothing is known about whether incumbents were more or less likely to get elected during an earlier political era. One of the advantages of testing contemporary theories of congressional politics across time is that it provides an opportunity to test the robustness of existing theoretical explanations in an entirely different context. Cox and Katz (2002) have recently argued that the increase in the incumbency advantage since World War II is largely a result of the growth in a “quality” effect during this same era. In this paper, we take advantage of newly collected historical elections data to test for the presence of an incumbency effect in the context of nineteenth century House elections. While we find strong evidence of a quality effect in the period under examination (1862-1900), we do not find corresponding levels of incumbency success either in presidential or midterm elections. Accordingly, our results lead us to conclude that an alternative explanation may be necessary to account for the growth in the incumbency advantage across time.
Redistricting, Candidate Entry, and the Politics of Nineteenth Century U.S. House Elections
Jamie L. Carson, Erik J. Engstrom, and Jason M. Roberts
The effects of redistricting on candidate entry patterns in contemporary House races has received considerable attention in the scholarly literature, yet virtually no consideration has been given to this question in the context of historical elections. This is unfortunate, as the wider variation in congressional redistricting during the nineteenth century gives us increased leverage in terms of understanding strategic candidate behavior. Utilizing a newly created dataset of candidate quality for nineteenth century House races, we examine whether candidates with prior electoral experience are more likely to run in districts that are altered during the redistricting process, and provide an account of how differences in the timing and prevalence of redistricting may affect the strategic entry decisions of politicians. Our results suggest that strategic entry decisions and electoral outcomes are affected by redistricting in this historical context. Moreover, our analysis provides an opportunity to use history to test contemporary theories of congressional elections in a broader context.
Assessing the Electoral Connection: Evidence from the Early United States (American Journal of Political Science, Forthcoming)
Jamie L. Carson and Erik Engstrom
Students of legislative behavior are divided over the extent to which an electoral connection existed in the early United States. In this paper, we offer a test of the electoral connection in early American politics by investigating the electoral aftershocks of the disputed presidential election of 1824. Using newly available county-level presidential voting data, along with the unique circumstances associated with the presidential contest, we examine the connection between representative behavior, district public opinion, and electoral outcomes. We find that representatives that voted for John Quincy Adams in the House contest, yet were from districts supporting Andrew Jackson, were targeted for ouster and suffered a substantial vote-loss in the subsequent midterm election. We also find that the entry of a quality challenger had a sizeable impact on the fortunes of incumbent legislators. These results serve to confirm the presence of the electoral connection and representative accountability during this historical era.
The Impact of National Tides and District-Level Effects on Electoral Outcomes: The U.S. Congressional Elections of 1862-63 (American Journal of Political Science 2001)
Jamie L. Carson, Jeffery A. Jenkins, David W. Rohde, and Mark A. Souva
We examine the U.S.
Congressional elections of 1862-63, which resulted in a stunning setback for
President Abraham Lincoln and the incumbent Republican Party. After the
electoral “dust” had cleared, the Republicans lost control of the House, as
their share of seats declined from 59% to just over 46%. While historians
contend that the national electorate’s general unhappiness with the war effort
produced a largely systematic backlash against all Republican candidates, we
explore the impact of both national tides and district-level effects on
electoral outcomes. Specifically, we hypothesize that the emergence of quality
challengers, district-specific war casualties, and the timing of the midterm
elections in conjunction with changing national conditions influenced
individual electoral fortunes. Our empirical analysis confirms each of these
expectations. More generally, our results provide support for modern theories
of electoral outcomes in a previously unexplored historical context and
suggest several potential avenues for further research.
Strategic Politicians and U.S. House Elections, 1874-1914 (Journal of Politics, Forthcoming)
Jamie L. Carson and Jason M. Roberts
One of the most fundamental changes in post-World War II congressional elections has been the rise of candidate-centered campaigns. This phenomenon has given rise to considerable theoretical and empirical literature demonstrating the strategic behavior of congressional candidates. Yet, very few scholars have assessed the effect or existence of strategic candidate behavior for the pre-World War II era. We seek to fill part of this void by exploring the extent to which experienced or quality candidates played a role in influencing the electoral fortunes of incumbent House members in elections spanning the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Our findings suggest that in terms of strategic emergence and electoral performance, congressional candidates exhibited patterns of behavior which are strikingly similar to those seen in modern day campaigns, suggesting that individual ambition is the best explanation for candidate behavior in both eras.