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How Congress Evolves
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How Congress Evolves: Social Bases of Institutional Change

Nelson W. Polsby


This book argues that among other things, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Congress evolved. In short, the book argues that air conditioning altered the demography of the southern states, which in turn changed the political parties of the South, which transformed the composition and in due course the performance of the US House of Representatives. This evolutionary process led to the House’s liberalization and later to its transformation into an arena of sharp partisanship, visible among both Democrats and Republicans. This book offers an explanation for important transformations in the congressio ... More

Keywords: Congress, air conditioning, southern states, House of Representatives, United States, liberalization, partisanship, Democrats, Republicans

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2005 Print ISBN-13: 9780195182965
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182965.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Nelson W. Polsby, author
University of California, Berkeley