The Reed Rules And Republican Party Building: A New Look

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Studies In American Political Development


The making of the Reed Rules – the source of today's U.S. House procedure – has often been studied, yet no one has previously noticed the extent to which they originated in a today forgotten Republican plan to federally regulate Southern House elections. This article shows how and why the Reed Rules and federal election regulation became fused in the 51st Congress. Republican members of the House not only had preferences over the internal governance of the House; they also simultaneously had preferences over the structure of the party system. In following this article's analysis of the linkage between the Reed Rules and the strategy of party conflict in the Gilded Age one comes to better appreciate the role of party building as a source of congressional development.

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Cambridge University Press