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

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  18 ratings  ·  5 reviews
In this greatly entertaining tale of one of our most august institutions, Nelson Polsby argues that among other things, from the 50's to the 90's, Congress evolved. In short, Polsby 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 per ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 7th 2005 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2003)
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Frank Stein

Polsby is a good storyteller and he has an interesting story to tell: the migration of Northern Republicans into the South was one of the most important factors in breaking up the solid Democratic party in the Southern states, and, paradoxically, it was the rise of Southern Republicans which took conservative Democrats out of the Democratic caucus system and turned it into a liberal powerhouse in Congress in the 1970s.

Polsby begins with the House during Sam Rayburn's speakership (1940-1961), an
Josh Teitelbaum
This is a really readable yet academic history of how the House has changed in the last seventy years. And, I was particularly impressed with the level of detail to support the case that air conditioning (yes, air conditioning) was one of the main drivers in the rise of the Republican party. The only question that i wish were addressed is that if the migration of northerners to the South was so integral to the rise of Republicans there, then why didn't that newly ascendant party reflect the more ...more
That Polsby is able to make the (I believe correct) case that something as simple as Air Conditioning helped change the face of American Politics is fascinating, the statistics in this book are compelling, the charts are fascinating, a great and perhaps vital read to understanding the history of American Politics in the last century.
This is a very very interesting book. It is really eye opening...everyone should read this...thought provoking
Had to read for school. Should probably reread and see if it holds up.
Keith Lee
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