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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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Shoring Up Partisan Control: The Speakership Elections of 1839 and 1847

Shoring Up Partisan Control: The Speakership Elections of 1839 and 1847

(p.109) Chapter 5 Shoring Up Partisan Control: The Speakership Elections of 1839 and 1847
Fighting for the Speakership

Jeffery A. Jenkins

Charles Stewart III

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the speakership elections of 1839 and 1847, each of which highlighted the conflicting impulses of party and region at a time when national party leaders were striving for greater organization over House affairs. It explores the dynamics of roll call votes once the House began electing Speakers and other officers through viva voce voting, first in the 26th Congress (1839–1841), when the officer choices were dictated by a small group of nominal Democrats led by John C. Calhoun, and then in the succeeding four Congresses. The chapter also considers whether the coalition that elected Speakers in the early nineteenth century could look like a governing coalition, or even a procedural cartel. It shows that controlling the speakership was no guarantee of controlling the floor for the remainder of the antebellum period.

Keywords:   speakership elections, roll call votes, Speaker, viva voce voting, Congress, Democrats, John C. Calhoun, coalition, procedural cartel, speakership

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