American Political Science Review



FORUM

A Pivotal Politician and Constitutional Design


DAVID BRIAN ROBERTSON a1c1
a1 University of Missouri—St. Louis

Abstract

“A Pivotal Voter From a Pivotal State” argues that Roger Sherman played a central role at the Constitutional Convention, but it takes a different approach to explaining Sherman's role than “Madison's Opponents and Constitutional Design.” First, the two articles are trying to answer different questions; “A Pivotal Voter” is trying to explain roll call votes, whereas “Madison's Opponents” was trying to explain the Constitution's substantive design. Second, “A Pivotal Voter” assumes that delegates' preferences were fixed, and their votes sincere, but “Madison's Opponents” finds that delegates' preferences often were contingent and votes sometimes insincere. Third, “A Pivotal Voter” ignores the sequence of choices, whereas “Madison's Opponents” argues that sequence is crucial. Finally, “A Pivotal Voter” discounts delegates' efforts to manipulate rules and agendas, whereas “Madison's Opponents” emphasizes these efforts. Together, our findings suggest the value of diversity in political science and the need for more research on the art of political manipulation.


Correspondence:
c1 David Brian Robertson is Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Missouri—St. Louis, One University Boulevard St. Louis, MO 63121-4499 (daverobertson@umsl.edu).


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