Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) was elected to the House of Representatives in 1987 and was the first female Speaker of the House, originally elected to the position in 2007. Despite the length and significance of her career in the House, there is very little academic literature devoted to the effectiveness of her leadership. In an attempt to fill this research gap, this thesis will raise the following questions; Is Nancy Pelosi an effective Speaker of the House, and has her effectiveness changed significantly over her term as Speaker? For purposes of this research, leadership effectiveness is defined as the Speaker's ability to advance her caucus' legislation and retain her party's majority and power. Leadership style is defined as the actions taken and choices made by the Speaker in order to achieve these goals. To do this, I will utilize the framework developed by Ronald M. Peters and Cindy Simon Rosenthal consisting of 5 normative criteria in which to judge contemporary congressional leadership. In this thesis, I consider leadership episodes that occurred after their work in order to continue the study of Pelosi's leadership and evaluate any changes. I conclude that while she has some effectiveness shortcomings, Pelosi is an effective leader and her leadership style and process has remained relatively constant with few minor changes to account for the quickly evolving political environment her leadership exists within.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor



Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences


School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs

Degree Program

Political Science



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date