David Mayhew and the Study of Congress

David Mayhew and the Study of Congress IntroductionIn a career spanning five decades, David R. Mayhew is best known for the bold simplification at the heart of his second book, Congress: The Electoral Connection (1974). By suggesting that political scientists can gain analytic purchase by thinking of members of Congress as single-minded seekers of reelection – and delivering on that promise by showing how both legislative behavior and congressional organization can be illuminated by this assumption – Mayhew launched a revolution in congressional studies, one that powerfully influenced the study of American politics more generally.But the Electoral Connection is just one of several landmark works that set Mayhew apart as a political scientist. When one steps back and considers the arc of Mayhew’s contributions, it is the combination of analytic sharpness, encyclopedic historical knowledge, and painstaking data collection that distinguishes Mayhew. Mayhew’s nine books and numerous articles have changed how we understand the US Congress, political parties, elections, the policy-making process, and the American constitutional system more generally.From Mayhew’s scholarship, a depiction of politics emerges in which ambitious individual actors are both responsive to constituent preferences and are active molders of those preferences through their activities in the public sphere. Voter “inputs” enter into the policy http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Forum de Gruyter

David Mayhew and the Study of Congress

The Forum , Volume 15 (4): 18 – Mar 5, 2018

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
©2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
1540-8884
eISSN
1540-8884
D.O.I.
10.1515/for-2017-0051
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

IntroductionIn a career spanning five decades, David R. Mayhew is best known for the bold simplification at the heart of his second book, Congress: The Electoral Connection (1974). By suggesting that political scientists can gain analytic purchase by thinking of members of Congress as single-minded seekers of reelection – and delivering on that promise by showing how both legislative behavior and congressional organization can be illuminated by this assumption – Mayhew launched a revolution in congressional studies, one that powerfully influenced the study of American politics more generally.But the Electoral Connection is just one of several landmark works that set Mayhew apart as a political scientist. When one steps back and considers the arc of Mayhew’s contributions, it is the combination of analytic sharpness, encyclopedic historical knowledge, and painstaking data collection that distinguishes Mayhew. Mayhew’s nine books and numerous articles have changed how we understand the US Congress, political parties, elections, the policy-making process, and the American constitutional system more generally.From Mayhew’s scholarship, a depiction of politics emerges in which ambitious individual actors are both responsive to constituent preferences and are active molders of those preferences through their activities in the public sphere. Voter “inputs” enter into the policy

Journal

The Forumde Gruyter

Published: Mar 5, 2018

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