The Journal of Politics

Research Article

Joseph G. Cannon and Howard W. Smith: An Essay on the Limits of Leadership in the House of Representatives*

Charles O. Jonesa1

a1 University of Arizona

That the house of Representatives is characterized by bargainng has been well established by many scholars of that institution and suggests that leaders of that body must be skilled negotiators. Ultimately each representative, even the freshman, has some bargaining power (at minimum—his vote). It is on this basis of bargaining that the “middle-man” thesis of congressional leadership has been developed. Rightly or wrongly House leaders must attend to their majorities.

Charles O. Jones is professor of government at the University of Arizona. He recently completed a study of the problem of the two-year term for congressmen at The Brookings Institution, and is presently working on a book on the role of the minority party in Congress.


* Financial support for this study was provided by the American Political Science Association's Study of Congress, Professor Ralph K. Huitt, Director, and the Institute of Government Research, University of Arizona. I wish to acknowledge the comments of Richard Cortner, Conrad Joyner, John Crow, Phillip Chapman, and Clifford Lytle.