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Fighting for the SpeakershipThe House and the Rise of Party Government$
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Jeffery A. Jenkins and Charles Stewart

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691118123

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691118123.001.0001

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Organizational Politics under the Secret Ballot

Organizational Politics under the Secret Ballot

(p.56) Chapter 3 Organizational Politics under the Secret Ballot
Fighting for the Speakership

Jeffery A. Jenkins

Charles Stewart III

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the organizational politics underlying speakership and other House officer contests during the period when elections were held by secret ballot—ending in 1837. It begins with a discussion of House organization from 1789 to 1811, a period characterized by weak political parties. In particular, it considers how the increasing partisanship in both House politics and speakership elections overlapped with changing norms of doing business in the chamber. It then looks at House organization during the years 1811–1837, a time when the formal structure of the House became more complex, the role of political parties was transformed, and the value of House offices, including positions like the Printer and Clerk, was much enhanced. The chapter shows that, prior to the use of public roll call votes for electing House officers, organizational politics unfolded around a variety of factors such as party, personality, and region.

Keywords:   organizational politics, speakership, secret ballot, political parties, partisanship, speakership elections, House officers

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