Legislative Politics in the Solid South
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CitationOlson, Michael. 2020. Legislative Politics in the Solid South. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractHow does the absence of competitive parties affect legislative politics? In this three-paper dissertation, I explore this question in the context of the American Solid South, which persisted from the re-establishment of white Democratic rule following Reconstruction until the Civil Rights Era. Using a variety of original data, particularly on state legislative roll call voting, I explore how one-party government affects legislative behavior and the representation that constituents receive. In the first paper, I examine how the creation of the Solid South through black disfranchisement affected state legislative roll call voting, demonstrating that formal, institutional black disfranchisement was impactful for legislative representation. This piece fills an important gap in the literature by demonstrating that the rules limiting the franchise in the South shaped the unique political character of the Solid South. In the second paper, I examine whether southern state legislatures exhibited party-like patterns in roll call voting. This allows me to assess whether intra-party factions capably substituted for parties in facilitating issue representation in this one-party, Democrat-dominated political setting. Finally, in the third paper, co-authored with James Snyder, we explore how representation on a particular issue, prohibition, was affected by the Solid South's lack of party competition. By focusing on this single issue, we are able to develop estimates of voters’ preferences for this important period of American political history. Taken together, these papers refine scholarly understanding of the role of parties in the legislative process and offer new detail and nuance to characterizations of politics in the one-party, Democratic South.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365770
- FAS Theses and Dissertations