Electoral Incentives in Congress, Jamie L. Carson and Joel Sievert
Were nineteenth-century members of Congress subject to a similar electoral connection as their twentieth-century counterparts? Jamie L. Carson and Joel Sievert go beyond merely applying the three activities outlined in David Mayhew's Congress: The Electoral Connection (advertising, credit claiming, and position taking) to the 1800s in an effort to uncover the central components of the electoral connection. While many assume that Mayhew's argument primarily applies to a candidate-centered era, Carson and Sievert expand on a growing consensus that aspects of the electoral connection existed even in a party-centered era.
While other scholars have examined the electoral connection in the nineteenth century, Carson and Sievert argue that this work is too narrowly focused. To offer a more thorough analysis, Carson and Sievert (with Jeffery A. Jenkins) outline four crucial components of the electoral connection. First, members must be ambitious, in that they must desire a political career including the House. Second, members must have autonomy to control their own electoral destiny. Third, members must be able to be responsive to the needs of their constituencies. Finally, members must be accountable for their actions. Chapters 4–7 explore these components from 1820 through 1888, with specific emphasis on the
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