Personality Conflict vs. Partisan Conflict in the United States Congress, from 1851-2004
Conflict among legislators has been an ever-present component of the legislative process in the U.S. Congress. However, most political scientists have treated all dissension within the legislature as the result of partisan disagreement over various policy options. I propose in this thesis that a second dimension of conflict exists within Congress, one caused by personal rivalries unrelated to the discussion of issues. This category, which I have termed "personality conflict," or "incivility," can take the form of actions between legislators such as name-calling and fist-fights. In my research, I have created a measure of these incivilities and studied the movement in the levels of personality conflict within Congress from 1851 through 2004. In addition, I compare these trends to a conventional measure of party polarization or partisan conflict. The analysis suggests that the two types of conflict are distinct, but also that levels of one type of congressional conflict can have important effects on the absolute level of the other.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Burdge-Small, Paulina, "Personality Conflict vs. Partisan Conflict in the United States Congress, from 1851-2004" (2006). HIM 1990-2015. 569.