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A Pivotal Voter from a Pivotal State: Roger Sherman at the Constitutional Convention


Robertson (2005) and Rakove (1996) argue that Roger Sherman was surprisingly influential at the Constitutional Convention. Using empirically estimated ideal points, we show that Sherman was a pivotal voter from a pivotal state. We also demonstrate that if the votes were tallied by individual delegates, rather than being grouped by the home state, then Sherman would have been less pivotal. This suggests that the voting procedures adopted at the Constitutional Convention may have affected Sherman's ability to get his interests enacted. Such institutions might have been more responsible than his legislative ability for making Sherman effective.

Corresponding author
Keith L. Dougherty is Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602 (e-mail:
Jac C. Heckelman is McCulloch Family Fellow and Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27109 (e-mail:
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American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
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