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Congressional Careers and Party Leadership in the Contemporary House of Representatives

Burdett A. Loomis
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 28, No. 1 (Feb., 1984), pp. 180-202
DOI: 10.2307/2110793
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2110793
Page Count: 23
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Congressional Careers and Party Leadership in the Contemporary House of Representatives
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Abstract

Changes in rules, membership, and norms in the U.S. House of Representatives have altered the "structure of opportunities" that shapes congressional careers. Although some attention has been given committee-based changes, relatively little has been written about the relationships between new career patterns and the party leadership. This article examines the Democratic leadership's attempts to deal with a democratized and decentralized House, largely composed of junior members. After demonstrating the extent to which the Democrats' "inclusive" strategy has expanded the number of leadership positions, the attitudes of junior members, in and out of the leadership, are examined to assess how such a strategy will fare. The results are mixed; junior leaders highly value the norm of compromise, for example, but they generally downplay the importance of personal cordiality, a norm that seems essential to an inclusive leadership style.

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